Swatch Buys Breguet; LVMH Buys TAG Heuer

September 14, 1999

Swatch Buys Breguet; LVMH Buys TAG Heuer

In the second high-profile watch company merger in two days, the Swatch Group said today it agreed to buy Groupe Horloger Breguet, the famed luxury watch brand, from Investcorp S.A., Breguet's owner since 1987.

Breguet will join Swatch's 15 brands, including Blancpain, Omega, Hatot, Longines and Rado. Nouvelle Lemania and Valdar, Breguet's movement and component divisions, extend Swatch's already large movement division, which includes ETA and Frédéric Piguet.

In other breaking watch news, yesterday Paris-based luxury goods company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced it would buy Swiss watch manufacturer TAG Heuer for about $746 million. TAG Heuer accepted LVMH's bid pending an Oct. 5 meeting, at which the companies expect to finalize the deal.

The acquisition would give LVMH a stronger entree into the luxury sport watch market. For TAG Heuer, which reported a 6.9% sales increase last quarter over 1998, the deal would increase distribution to the LVMH luxury network, which includes Duty Free Shoppers stores around the globe, and place the company under the same umbrellas with watch and jewelry brands such as Christian Dior and Fred Joaillier.

- by Michael Thompson