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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Chinese Conglomerate Acquires 85% Stake in Buccellati

The Buccellati New York flagship store on Madison Avenue

Clessidra, an Italian private equity firm, and the Buccellati family said Friday that it sold an 85 percent share in Buccellati to Chinese conglomerate, Gangtai Group. 

Clessidra and the Buccellati family will retain a 15 percent stake in Italian high jewelry house. The company is reportedly valued at approximately $282 million. A source close to the deal would not confirm or deny the figure. However, the person did say that revenue in 2015 was approximately $42.8 million, making its valuation 6.6 times its annual revenue.

The new majority owners plan to expand into China and other Asian markets, according to multiple sources. As part of the deal the Buccellati family will retain creative control of the company.

Buccellati, founded in Milan in 1919, is one of the most prestigious jewelers in Italy, known for creating pieces using time-honored hand-crafted techniques. The company has an international presence, particularly in Europe and the United States with branded stores and distribution agreements.

Buccellati was 100 percent family owned until 2013 when 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. The company named Lucrezia Buccellati, 25-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 in Madison Avenue in New York as well as stores in Paris and Palm Beach.

The Buccellati creative team, Andrea Buccellati and his daughter, Lucrezia

Clessidra, in a statement, noted that since 2013, the family made significant investments to expand its distribution network, support the product offering and strengthen the management structure. Now it says Buccellati is ready to expand into China.

“We are particularly satisfied with the agreement reached with Gangtai Group,” Marco Carotenuto, managing director of Clessidra, said in a statement. “We have strongly supported Buccellati in the last three years achieving a 60 percent growth in revenues since acquisition. We believe that the company is now ready for a new growth cycle that Gangtai Group will support, considering also its experience in the jewelry market and its strong presence in China.”

Gangtai Group—which specializes in the consumer, culture, finance and health industries—has experience in the China jewelry market. Its subsidiary, Gangsu Gangtai Holding (Group) Co. Ltd, is one of largest gold jewelry distributers and a leading internet jewelry retailer in China, and is focused on growing its presence in international luxury, according to the statement. 

Andrea Buccellati will retain his role as creative director and honorary chairman of Buccellati. Gianluca Brozzetti will retain his role as CEO of Buccellati. Other members of the Buccellati family will also retain their involvement in the business, according to the statement.

“Our family founded this company almost 100 years ago and will continue to be fully involved to support its development, the creative mastery and production craftsmanship that enabled the establishment of a unique and recognizable style in jewelry and silverware,” Andrea Buccellati said. "We welcome the commitment of Gangtai Group to invest significant resources to further develop the Buccellati brand and platform.”

Buccellati one-of-kind gold earrings inspired by Odilon Redon's La Chute de PhaƩton

Closing of the transaction is expected by the second quarter of 2017 and is subject to Chinese government approval. 

The deal team at Clessidra included Manuel Catalano, managing director, Marco Carotenuto, managing director, and Giulio Torregrossa, investment director. The sellers were advised by Mediobanca, Unicredit and Partners CPA as financial advisors and by law firms Gattai Minoli Agostinelli & Partners and Pedersoli e Associati for the legal aspects. The purchaser was advised by law firm Simmons & Simmons for the legal aspects. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet, the Forbes website and on Instagram @JewelryNewsNetwork

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