Bulgari and Swiss Army Buy Watch Firms

June 29, 2000

Bulgari and Swiss Army Buy Watch Firms

Bulgari SPA, the Italian luxury goods group with substantial watch sales, is preparing to purchase Hour Glass Ltd., the owner of the luxury, hand-crafted Swiss brands Daniel Roth and Gerald Genta, for $23 million, Bloomberg reports. The two brands will add a higher-end, technical niche to Bulgari, where watches are largely fashion-driven. Bulgari is the world's third largest jeweler, and last year watches accounted for 45% of its sales. Hour Glass is the largest distributor of luxury goods including jewelry in Singapore where its based.

In other watch news, Swiss Army Brands Inc. agreed to purchase the stock of Xantia, SA, a Swiss watch design, manufacturing and assembling firm. For the past 10 years, Xantia has manufactured and assembled Swiss Army Brand watches. The purchase, slated to close by late July, is valued at $11.5 million in cash, stock and debt. According to Swiss Army Brands, Xantia will continue to serve its other customers and will seek new customers. J. Merrick Taggart, president and CEO of Swiss Army Brands, says Swiss Army Brands may share its ownership in Xantia with another company but that no commitments have been made. The company web site is www.swissarmy.com.

- by Michael Thompson