Citizen Will Buy Bulova for $250 Million

Japanese watchmaker Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. said on Oct. 5 that it will buy Bulova Corp. from Loews Corp., a New York–based conglomerate. The purchase price is $250 million, JCK was told by Darren Daugherty, director of investor relations for Loews. Bulova has been a subsidiary of Loews for almost 30 years.

Citizen, headquartered in Tokyo, announced the sale in a brief press release, and it was subsequently reported by major business media in Japan, Europe, and the United States.

The stock transfer agreement between Loews and Bulova was signed Oct. 4. The purchase will be completed by Jan. 10, 2008, when Citizen acquires 100 percent of Loews’ shares in Bulova, say Citizen and Loews.

Bulova will become a subsidiary of Citizen and reportedly will remain at its longtime Woodside, N.Y., headquarters. No changes in operations were expected at Bulova’s offices and facilities in Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.

Bulova’s watch lines include Accutron, Bulova, Caravelle, and Wittnauer. In 2006, it had sales of about $205 million. Citizen Watch Co. had worldwide sales of about $2.8 billion in 2006. Its U.S. arm is Citizen Watch Co. of America.

Bulova was founded in 1875 in New York City by Joseph Bulova, a Czech immigrant and jeweler. In the past decade, Bulova has enjoyed ongoing growth. National surveys in 1996 and 2001 found it among the top watch and jewelry brands in U.S. consumer awareness. On Oct. 4, 2000, then–New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani proclaimed Bulova Day in recognition of its 125th anniversary. In 2001, it acquired the high-end Wittnauer brand, and in 2002 it launched a new international marketing strategy, setting up its European headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland.