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Sunday, December 9, 2012

PPR Acquires Chinese Fine Jewelry Brand Qeelin

On Wednesday in New York, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of PPR, told me he was in the market for more jewelry and watch brands for the luxury portion of the international holdings company’s portfolio. In particular he was looking at the fast-growing Asian market (which almost always means China). What he didn’t tell me was how close he was to making a deal. Sunday, the French company said it acquired a majority stake in the Chinese fine jewelry brand Qeelin. The transaction is expected to be finalized in January 2013.

Qeelin describes itself as a company that “embraces the mythical essence of China’s cultural heritage with the excellence of French craftsmanship” through contemporary fine jewelry design. It interprets mythical and superstitious Chinese symbols as contemporary jewels. Founded in 2004 by Chinese designer, Dennis Chan, and French entrepreneur, Guillaume Brochard, the brand operates 14 boutiques (seven in Mainland China, four in Hong Kong and three in Europe). Its jewelry can also be found in trendy multi-brand stores, such as Colette in Paris, and Restir in Tokyo.

Pinault, said Qeelin “shows strong growth potential in China and beyond. We thus have great ambitions for the brand and will make it benefit from our expertise and know-how, so that it can speed up its development.”

PPR operates brands in the luxury and “Sport & Lifestyle” markets specializing in apparel and accessories. Distributed in more than 120 countries, PPR generated revenues of €12.2 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2011. Its brands are Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard, Puma, Volcom, Cobra, Electric, Tretorn and Fnac.

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