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Friday, August 11, 2017

Mayors Jewelers To Be Sold To British Holding Company

Birks Yorkdale store in North York, Ontario, Canada

In a multi-tiered deal Canadian jeweler, Birks Group, has agreed to sell its U.S.-based subsidiary, Mayors Jewelers, to British holding company, Aurum, in a transaction valued at $104.6 million.

As part of the transaction Birks entered into a five-year distribution agreement with Aurum to sell Birks fine jewelry in the U.K. through Aurum-owned retailers, Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths, and on its e-commerce sites. In addition, the Birks collections will continue to be sold in the United States through Mayors’ stores.

“The agreement is an important achievement in the company’s strategy to develop the Birks brand into a global luxury brand,” Birks said in a statement.

The transaction, subject to specified closing conditions and purchase price adjustments, is expected to close in the fall of 2017.

Birks is a Montreal-based designer and manufacturer of jewelry that it retails (along with timepieces and gifts) through approximately 30 luxury jewelry stores in Canada under the Birks and Brinkhaus brands, and through a wholesale network. It also owns the U.S. luxury jewelry retail chain, Mayors Jewelers, which has approximately 17 stores in Florida and Georgia.

Aurum Holdings is the largest prestige luxury jewelers and timepieces retailer in the U.K. with approximately 140 stores and online retail sites. Its portfolio includes Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watchshop, The Watch Hut and The Watch Lab.

Birks in a statement said proceeds from the transaction will be used by to continue its “strategic growth initiatives,” specifically to invest in its Canadian stores and new store concepts, as well as in its whole activities and e-commerce, as part of the “company’s omni-channel plan.” Transaction proceeds will also be used to pay down outstanding debt under the company’s senior secured credit facilities that include term debt and working capital debt associated with Mayors.

“This transaction is a significant step in our efforts to strengthen our balance sheet to better position the company for growth as well as long-term shareholder value,” Jean-Christophe B├ędos, president and CEO of Birks Group, said in a statement. “We believe that monetizing the value of Mayors gives us the ability to execute our strategic vision of investing in the Birks brand together with the retailing of internationally renowned jewelry and timepiece brands in Canada, thus transforming Birks into a global, omni-channel business.”

He added, “This transaction with Aurum also opens the doors to the U.K. market for our jewelry collections and we are extremely proud to join such a prestigious network as Aurum’s under the Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths banners.”

Brian Duffy, president of Aurum, said in a statement the purchase of Mayors works within the British company’s plan “to be an important part of the Swiss watch market in the USA.” The company recently announced that it will open a flagship Watches of Switzerland store in the new Hudson Yards development in New York.

“We have admired Mayors for some time and see a great deal of similarities with how we operate our business in the U.K. Mayors,” he said.

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