Junghans, Bedat Get New Owners

Two stars of the watch cosmos-one rising, the other long-established-acquired new owners at the end of 2000, capping a year of more mergers and acquisitions in Europe’s mid- and luxury-priced watch industry. Junghans, the upscale German brand established in 1861, was acquired by EganaGoldpfeil Ltd., a global marketer of fashion accessories. Gucci Group, one of the world’s leading multi-brand luxury goods companies, acquired a controlling interest in Bedat & Co., the Swiss watchmaker whose luxury timepieces have enjoyed growing success in the United States since 1997.

Junghans was purchased in November from the Diehl Group for $39 million ($304 million Hong Kong) by EganaGoldpfeil. The transaction, financed by EganaGoldpfeil’s internal resources, includes all shares in Junghans, its debt, and other liabilities and guarantees, says an EganaGoldpfeil spokesman.

The Gucci Group acquired control of Bedat & Co. in December. The financial terms were not disclosed; however, the deal gives Gucci 85% control of the watch company. Simone Bedat (who was also a founder of the Raymond Weil brand) is chairman, while her son Christian continues in his role as chief executive. The two founded Bedat & Co in 1996.