GCA Altium has advised Watchfinder.co.uk, the leading pre-owned premium watch specialist, on the sale of 100% of its share capital to Richemont, the global luxury goods group.
This transaction confirms GCA Altium’s position as a leading M&A advisor in the consumer and e-commerce sectors. The UK consumer team has now completed 18 deals in the last 18 months. The transaction is also a further example of our expertise in the luxury watches sector, following the recent sales of Breitling to CVC and Ulysse Nardin to Kering.
Established in 2002 in the United Kingdom, Watchfinder has grown organically under the careful stewardship of co-founder Stuart Hennell to become the leading platform to research, buy and sell premium pre-owned watches, both online and through its eight boutiques. In addition, Watchfinder operates a highly qualified customer service centre and employs c.200 employees worldwide.
Commenting on the transaction, Mr Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, said: „Sixteen years ago, Watchfinder’s founders foresaw the need for an online marketplace for premium pre-owned timepieces. Watch enthusiasts themselves, they established Watchfinder to provide excellence in customer experience. We believe there are substantial opportunities to help grow the Company further. Today, Watchfinder operates both as an ‘online’ and ‘offline’ business in a complementary, growing, and still relatively unstructured segment of the industry. Together with YOOX NET-A-PORTER and our stake in Dufry, the acquisition of Watchfinder is another step in Richemont’s strategy. It will enable us to better serve the sophisticated needs of a discerning clientele. We welcome Stuart Hennell and his team and look forward to ensuring Watchfinder remains the compelling destination for premium pre-owned timepieces.”
Stuart Hennell said: “After 16 years as an independent business we are delighted that Watchfinder is now part of the Richemont family – the future is exciting. The team at GCA Altium were first class – they ran a highly effective process in an incredibly tight timetable to secure an outstanding result for the shareholders. They were a pleasure to work with and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
The transaction is expected to close in the summer of 2018 and remains subject to FCA approval. Further details were not disclosed.