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Swatch Group to buy luxury jeweler Harry Winston in $1-billion deal

January 14, 2013|By Shan Li
  • Swatch Group is buying Harry Winston's luxury brand business. Above, a file photo showing the 71.73-carat Lesotho diamond at Harry Winston's Beverly Hills location.
Swatch Group is buying Harry Winston's luxury brand business. Above,… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Swiss watch giant Swatch Group is scooping up Harry Winston Diamond Corp.'s luxury goods operation in a deal valued at as much as $1 billion.

The Swiss firm will pay $750 million and assume up to $250 million in debt of the Toronto-based diamond specialist, which Marilyn Monroe crooned about in the 1953 film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Harry Winston said in a statement.

The part of Harry Winston that is not sold will be re-dubbed Dominion Diamond Corp. and will source polished diamonds for Swatch.

"Harry Winston brilliantly complements the prestige segment of the group," said Nayla Hayek, chairman of Swatch Group. "Diamonds are still a girl's best friend."

Adding a well-known, high-end jeweler to its portfolio will help Swatch compete in the luxury market against competitors such as Cartier. A previous collaboration with Tiffany & Co. fell apart after Swatch accused the posh brand of breaching its agreement to sell watches under the Tiffany brand and split the profits.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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