Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Swatch and Bulgari Squash Takeover Rumors

Swatch Group and Bulgari SpA have moved quickly to deny rumors of the Swiss company's interest in taking over the Italian jeweler.

In a statement to Reuters onMonday, Nick Hayek, Swatch Group CEO, said, "The Swatch Group has not expressed any desire to acquire Bulgari, and Bulgari has not expressed either the desire to be bought by Swatch Group. There are no negotiations in front of, or behind the curtains".

Bulgari issued a separate statement saying that they enjoyed good "business relationships" with Swatch, but that "the two Companies have never discussed any kind of transactions on shares. The Bulgari family is not interested in selling".

Speculation of a takeover first arose after comments Mr. Hayek made to German magazine, Focus, which suggested that Swatch was interested in purchasing Bulgari.

According to Reuters, Mr. Hayek said, "I do not deny that there are interesting big brands that have potential to develop" and gave Bulgari as an example. However, he insisted that Swatch was not the type of company to engage in hostile takeover battles.

Bulgari shares rose more than 5 percent after Mr. Hayek's comments were published.

(Photo: Courtesy of WWD)

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