Luxury goods holding company, Richemont, said that it has acquired 100% of Buccellati, the renowned Italian high jewelry house, in a private transaction with Chinese investment company, Gangtai Group Corp., for an undisclosed price.
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Buccellati was founded in Milan in 1919 by Mario Buccellati. The company has a rich history and patrimony, distinguished by exceptional craftsmanship and unique know-how.
Its jewelry creations are renowned for their highly distinctive look-and-feel evoking silk, damask, tulle, and linen. All jewelry pieces are handcrafted with techniques dating back to the Renaissance in Buccellati’s four in-house workshops, all located in Italy. Buccellati also is active in the fields of watchmaking and silverware. The acquisition marks the end of family ownership for the 100-year-old company.
Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, said in a statement that Buccellati is one of the few jewelry firms that is a good fit with the Swiss-based company’s portfolio, largely dominated by luxury watch brands.
“Distinguished by strong heritage, craftsmanship, and family spirit, Buccellati is one of the few maisons in the dynamic branded jewelry market that is complementary to our existing jewelry maisons, in terms of style, origins, and craftsmanship,” Rupert said.
“Buccellati meets the needs of today’s customers who are looking for creative jewelry, with a highly distinctive style. With them, we share a culture of constant quest for creativity, innovation, quality, and excellence. We look forward to ensuring the long term development of this unique jewelry maison,” Rupert conintued.
Andrea Buccellati, honorary chairman and creative director of Buccellati, added: “We are proud to join Richemont, a family-spirited group and nurturer of prestigious luxury maisons, with an undisputed expertise in jewelry. We value their long term strategic thinking and look forward to seeing the potential of Buccellati realized as part of Richemont.”
Xu Jiangang, founder and chairman of Gangtai Group, a privately held conglomerate that invests in the consumer, culture, finance, and health industries, said: “We are extremely glad to have successfully contributed to the introduction of the prestigious Buccellati brand in the Greater China market, strengthening Buccellati’s identity and enhancing all of the elements which make it one of the best-known brands worldwide in the fine jewelry sector. We are now honored and proud that Richemont will continue the journey, ensuring Buccellati’s great success, starting from the celebration of its 100th anniversary.”
Richemont in the statement issued early this morning said that the transaction closed on September 26 and will have no material financial impact on Richemont’s consolidated net assets or operating result for the year ending March 31, 2020. The results of Buccellati will be reported under the “Jewelry Maisons” business area, led by French luxury brands, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Buccellati, based in Milan, is one of the world’s most renowned high jewelry houses, celebrated for its craftsmanship, design, rare colored gems, and one-of-a-kind pieces. It is known for its signature lace rings and necklaces worn by monarchs and movie stars, with some of its pieces selling for more than $1 million.
However, the once proudly independent family owned firm was having difficulty adjusting to changes in a more-connected marketplace with a younger clientele who had trouble affording and appreciating its high jewelry masterpieces.
Buccellati remained independent until 2013 when Italian private equity fund, Clessidra, acquired a 67 percent stake, with the remaining 33 percent retained by the founding family.
A year later the company announced a rebranding effort aimed at attracting younger customers, naming Lucrezia Buccellati, 24-years-old at the time, as its first woman designer and the youngest person to hold that title.
Her father, Andrea Buccellati, became president and creative director, later adding the title of chairman. In 2015, the company opened a five-story flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York as well as boutiques in Paris and Palm Beach.
In August 2017, Gangtai Group acquired an 85% stake in Buccellati with Clessidra and the Buccellati family retaining a 15 percent stake. The enterprise value of the company at the time was reportedly $282 million, according to a source close to the deal, adding that company revenues in 2015 were approximately $42.8 million. The sale was first announced in December 2016.
Gangtai said at the time that it planned to reinforce Buccellati’s international presence with a five-year investment plan of €200 million designed to build 88 new Buccellati boutiques in existing markets, namely Italy, Europe, and North America, and in new markets, such as China, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
Buccellati currently sells through an international network of 28 boutiques and through distribution agreements.
Richemont divides its holdings into four business categories: Specialist Watchmakers, namely A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin; Jewellery Maisons, namely Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels; Online Distributors, namely Yook Net-A-Porter Group and Watchfinder & Co. and Other, mostly fashion and accessories Maisons, including Dunhill, Alaïa, Chloé, Montblanc and Peter Millar.