Asprey & Garrard to Be Sold


March 18, 2006

Asprey & Garrard Sold

Asprey & Garrard, the financially troubled British luxury company that owns venerable jeweler Asprey, will be sold to a group of private investors for an undisclosed amount, the New York Post reported Saturday.

Sciens Capital Management and Plainfield Asset Management will join members of Asprey & Garrard's management team to purchase the company for an undisclosed price.

The news comes a day after Asprey & Garrard emerged from "technical administration," which is a restructuring that offers bankruptcy protection for British companies. Under this restructuring the company pulled out of a $1 million-a-month, 17-year lease for its three-story space in Trump Tower in New York City, suggesting that Asprey plans to close its extravagent New York flagship store which opened in December 2003. The Financial Times wrote earlier Friday that three major investors in parent company Asprey & Garrard had lost $500 million in investments as part of the restructuring.

Asprey & Garrard recently embarked on a campaign worth hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade its image as a luxury company, but reports say it failed to attract consumers at the rate necessary to be successful. Earlier in March, reports circulated that the company was seeking a $50 million cash infusion to fund new stores in major international cities.

Adding insult to injury, actress Keira Knightley, who has been renogitiating her rumored $1.7 million-a-year contract to continue as the public face of Asprey jewels, showed up on the red carpet at the Academy Awards earlier this month wearing a $12 million necklace by rival house Bulgari. That PR disaster further added to speculation that the 225-year-old jewelry house and its parent company were on the verge of collapse.



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