Luxury jewellers Aurum Holdings which owns retail brands Mapping & Webb, Watches of Switzerland and Goldsmiths has been sold to US private equity firm Apollo, it has been announced.
Set for completion during the first quarter of 2013, the acquisition, for which Apollo was advised by DC Advisory, has been announced in conjunction with the departure of Aurum Chairman Don McCarthy.
The rest of Aurum’s management team will remain in their roles and will be led by current Aurum CEO Justin Stead.
Commenting on the acquisition, Sanjay Patel, Head of International Private Equity for Apollo, said: “Aurum is a leader within the luxury watch retail industry and it has established an enviable position in the United Kingdom driven by exceptional service and customer experience and strong partnerships with most of the world’s major watch brands.
“We look forward to working closely with Justin Stead and his team to drive growth through enhancement of its leading market position in luxury watches and further development of its jewellery offering.”
McCarthy also operates as Chairman of department store House of Fraser, which earlier this week announced a like-for-like sales rise of 5.4 per cent in its third quarter, and he expressed hope that the sale will aid Aurum’s ongoing growth.
“The acquisition by Apollo will provide Aurum with an outstanding platform for the company’s anticipated future growth and the development of compelling opportunities that exist within the business currently.
“Throughout the last three years Aurum has outperformed the market and this is a credit to Justin Stead, Chief Executive and the Aurum management team who have executed a robust and focused strategic plan.
“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to be part of the business and I would like to thank Landsbanki, Aurum’s existing shareholder, for their support, Justin, and the entire Aurum team for their professionalism and dedication steering Aurum through a significant period of growth, and I am confident the business will continue to grow in the future with Apollo’s support.”
Stead thanked McCarthy for his “outstanding leadership” and added that the sale highlights the strength of Aurum’s proposition.
He said: “We are incredibly enthusiastic about Apollo’s acquisition of AURUM and we believe their retail industry expertise and broad resources and capabilities across the leisure and commodities sectors will foster our continued growth and success.”