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Kering Drops Watchmaking Activities and Sells Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin to Management

Management buy-out for GP and UN with Patrick Pruniaux at the head, Kering out of the watch business.

| By Brice Goulard | 2 min read |
Patrick Pruniaux CEO Ulysse Nardin

As we’ve just entered the LVMH Watch Week, the other French luxury powerhouse, Kering (ex-PPR) has just announced the finalisation of the management buy-out of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin, thus selling its watch activities to the current management of the brands. Following some talks that started a few months ago, it is now confirmed that Sowind Group SA, the umbrella above GP and UN, is out of the portfolio of Kering. The transaction, which has been conducted by the current CEO of both brands, Patrick Pruniaux, should be finalised this summer.

As a reminder, Kering Group is a French conglomerate specialized in luxury goods, majorly owned by François-Henri Pinault. Under this umbrella are brands such as Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Gucci or Yves Saint Laurent. Up until now, the group was also involved in watchmaking. In 2011, Kering took a majority stake in Girard-Perregaux (as well as the now-defunct brand JeanRichard, owned by the same company Sowind Group SA). Then, in 2014, Kering acquired Ulysse Nardin. In 2017, the group named Patrick Pruniaux at the head of Ulysse Nardin, and a year later at the head of GP too.

Girard-Perregaux x Aston Martin Partnership
Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin

Today, Kering has announced selling its 100% stake in Sowind Group SA (incl. GP and UN brands) to its management, under the guidance of Patrick Pruniaux. This marks a new era for the watchmaking group and its independence. It also marks an important step in the business of Kering, which incidentally drops all watchmaking activities from its portfolio of brands (excluding watches produced by Gucci). The sale of the companies to the board of directors is expected to be completed the end of the first half of 2022. No word has been given yet regarding the price of the transaction or the involvement of third-party investors to back up the management buy-out.

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Pruniaux declared that “on the sound foundations laid thanks to Kering’s support and investments, we have the right setup and resources to implement a plan capable of ensuring the long-term development of both brands.” We’ll certainly look closely at how the two brands will evolve over the years.

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