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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Harry Winston Diamond Corp. Receives Approval to Sell Luxury Brand to Swatch Group

Harry Winston Diamond Corp. said Thursday that it expects the sale of its luxury diamond jewelry and timepiece division, Harry Winston, Inc., to the Swatch Group to close on or around March 26. The Toronto-based company said it has received regulatory approval to complete the sale.

The two companies announced in January that the Harry Winston luxury division was being sold to the Swatch Group for $750 million plus the assumption of up to $250 million of pro forma net debt.

In addition to being a luxury jeweler and timepiece company, Harry Winston Diamond Corp. operates as a diamond company with a 40 percent ownership interest in the Diavik Diamond Mine. It is finalizing the purchase of the Ekati Diamond Mine, including its diamond sorting and sales facilities. Both mines are in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Upon completing the sale of its luxury retail business, the company will be solely in the diamond mining and distribution business operating under the new name, Dominion Diamond Corp. The Swatch Group will retain the Harry Winston brand name.

The U.S.-based luxury retail business was bought by the Canadian diamond mining group, Aber Corp., in 2006 to create the Harry Winston Diamond Corp., with divisions in luxury retail and diamond mining. It was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2007.

The brand’s namesake (Harry Winston, March 1, 1896 – December 28, 1978) founded the luxury retail company in 1932. He was among the most famous jewelers in the world and the first jeweler to lend jewels to an actress for the Oscars red carpet in 1944. He was also famous for donating the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

The luxury diamond jeweler and timepiece retailer has salons in key locations—including New York, Paris, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Beverly Hills.

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