LVMH sells Ebel, Tajan

LVMH, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, has sold watchmaker Ebel to Movado Group Inc for 61.5 million Swiss francs ($49.1 million). The company also sold its majority interest in the Paris-based auction house Tajan to Rodart.

The Ebel sale is consistent with LVMH’s strategy to focus on leading brands across all areas of activity, LVMH said in a statement. The Tajan transaction reflects LVMH’s strategy of focusing on its core business.

LVMH said that as the world watch market shows signs of recovery, the LVMH Watch & Jewelry business group will focus on a portfolio of complementary brands. Among them are TAG Heuer prestige sports watches; ZENITH, known for its El Primero movement; and Dior Watches, featuring designs inspired by the Couture styles of the fashion house. Chaumet, the celebrated Paris jeweler on Place Vendôme, and Fred, renowned for its contemporary designs, will maintain the LVMH’s positions in jewelry watches, the company said. In addition, Louis Vuitton is developing a range of watches produced by LVMH watch manufacturers.

“Initiatives completed over recent years have allowed the Ebel brand to become more up market, creative, elegant and feminine, notably thanks to the brand’s successful entry into the high-end jewelry market,” said Philippe Pascal, president of LVMH’s Watch & Jewelry business group. “We are convinced that Ebel has a bright future within Movado Group.”

As far as Tajan sale, LVMH said that in a difficult environment, the auction house generated annual revenues approximately equal to those of the previous year, and thus strengthened its position as a key player in the art market.

LVMH, which retains a minority stake in Tajan, said it wishes Rodart “great success moving forward.”