Fabergé Sold to Gemfields

Gemstone miner Gemfields plans to buy one of the industry’s most storied brands, Fabergé, in a transition valued at $142 million.

The company had been owned by the Pallinghurst Group, an investment company that also owns a stake in Gemfields.

Fabergé was founded in 1842 by Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé. The line is famed for its jeweled eggs, even though most American consumers also know it for the line of perfumes and colognes, including BRUT, that were marketed under its name for decades. In 2007, Pallinghurst purchased the name from consumer giant Unilever and brought in members of the founder’s family for the first time in 58 years.

The revamped brand currently has boutiques in Geneva, New York City, London, and Hong Kong. An investor presentation says the company plans to open two stores a year over the next ten years, and hopes to hit 71 by 2033. Fabergé is targeting $6.5 million in annual sales in the medium term from each new store opened.

While a Gemfields release did not specify Fabergé’s current sales, it did say that they rose 367 percent in the last fiscal year. According to the Financial Times, the brand has lost $70 million since 2008.

With this acquisition, Gemfields joins the small but growing list of miners that own a retail chain, which includes De Beers and Harry Winston.

“The proposed acquisition of Fabergé further enhances our potential to be recognized as the leading colored gemstone company,” said Ian Harebottle, CEO of Gemfields, in a statement. “It provides exposure to the two most profitable segments in the gemstone value chain, namely mining and consumer sales.”

Assuming the transaction is approved by the companies’ shareholders, Gemfields will own 100 percent of Fabergé. The acquisition consideration will be satisfied by the issue of up to 214 million new ordinary shares of Gemfields stock.