French crystal maker Baccarat has been acquired by Chinese investment group Fortune Fountain Capital (FFC) for approximately $184 million. In a deal announced earlier this month, FFC agreed to purchase an 88.8 percent stake in centuries-old Baccarat from U.S. investment groups Starwood Capital and LCatterton.
Baccarat has been manufactured tableware, chandeliers and jewelry for upwards of 250 years. The Paris-based company generated sales of approximately $169 million in its 60 boutique locations last year. Its first time seeing a profit in four years, the company retained earnings of about $15 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2016.
Under the terms of the acquisition, FFC will pay 222.70 euro per share, valuing the company at around 185 million euro, or $207 million, and the 88.8 percent stake at 164 million euros, or $184 million.
“We have been impressed by the exceptional know-how and expertise of Baccarat’s employees,” says FFC chairwoman Coco Chu. “We are convinced that FFC, with its extensive global business network, is an ideal strategic partner to position Baccarat for future growth and value creation.”
Chu says the FCC will retain the current 500-person workforce, including CEO Daniela Riccardi, and production will remain in France. Baccarat hopes the new ownership will help accelerate its international growth and expansion in other luxury categories.
“We are very pleased to enter a new phase of our development by partnering with Fortune Fountain Capital,” says Riccardi. “We share the same vision for the future of our business, especially regarding the expansion into new products and geographies, such as Asia and North America. We will benefit from FFC’s financial strength and expertise in these markets, as well as from its extended base of partners and clients in the luxury industry.”
While the acquisition may be the first European venture for Beijing-based FFC, it's one of several recent investments Chinese firms have secured in the luxury sector. The last year has witnessed the purchases of Milan-based jewelry brand Buccellati and France's SMCP Group, owner of Sandro, Maje and Claudie Peirlot brands, by Chinese investors Gangtai Group and Shandong Ruyi Group, respectively.