Aber to Buy Harry Winston

December 1, 2003

Aber to Buy Harry Winston

Aber Diamond Corp., Toronto, Canada, declared its plans to buy Harry Winston Inc. on Nov. 27. Harry Winston is a jeweler to the stars and the name behind the glittering gems Hollywood stars wear on Oscar night. Aber, Canada's biggest publicly traded diamond miner, gave no further details about the deal other than to say it had signed a letter of intent with the owners of Harry Winston and the transaction will take place in stages.

Matthew Manson, Aber vice president of marketing, said Thursday's statement was brief as Aber was in the middle of a due diligence exercise on the retailer with outlets at exclusive addresses like New York's Fifth Avenue and Beverly Hills, CA. The due diligence on Harry Winston should be finished next year, he said. Manson said the takeover was friendly and had the support of Harry Winston's owners, the founder's son Ronald and Fenway Partners, a New York private equity firm.

Aber is the co-owner of Canada's Diavik diamond mine. Earlier this month, Aber said it was keen to expand its activities from mining into retailing. Aber already has a deal with Tiffany & Co. which allows Tiffany to purchase a minimum of $50 million annually for 10 years from Aber's output at Diavik. "We are trying to build a vertically integrated diamond company that has exposure in the United States and that is associated with a brand with great cachet," Manson said.

by Michael Thompson

Sign me up for