Aber Diamond Corp., co-owner of the Diavik mine in Canada, announced officially that it has acquired a 51% controlling interest in legendary retailer Harry Winston. It also has appointed Thomas O’Neill, current president of luxury group company Burberry to become president of both Harry Winston and Aber.
In a release, Aber noted that it was purchasing the “strategic bookends” of the industry — mining and retailing — the two segments that have the most attractive returns of a scale interesting to a public company.
Aber, which is 14% owned by another noted retailer Tiffany, purchased its interest in Harry Winston for $85 million, of which $20 million is in the form of additional working capital. Aber will initially pay $40 million and fund the remainder over a year. In conjunction with Aber’s investment, a new $60 million credit facility has been opened by Harry Winston.
Ronald Winston, who will continue as chairman of Harry Winston, said the acquisition “fulfills my father’s dream of creating a company that extends from the mine to the finished jewel.”