Watches of Switzerland owner Aurum hires banks, IPO moves a step closer

Aurum Holdings, one of the biggest names in UK high-end jewellery and watches, has reportedly moved a step closer to a stock-market listing and has appointed two banks to handle its IPO.

Watches of Switzerland

The company, which runs the WatchShop, Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths operations, is the biggest retailer of Rolex watches in Britain and is owned by Apollo Global Management. There have been rumours for some time that it would seek a listing in either London or Zürich, but at present it looks like London is in the lead.

Sky News said the firm has appointed Goldman Sachs and Barclays for a London listing to take place at some point next year.

But the very fact that it appears to have confirmed its IPO plans by appointing the banks means that the listing might not actually happen. Analysts said that confirmation of Apollo's intention to list the firm could encourage likely buyers to bid for it.

That’s especially the case as Apollo's plans are still at a very early stage and also because the company has been in talks regarding a sale previously, although they ultimately led nowhere.

There is speculation that the business could be worth over £600 million, with its strength in luxury watches being a key part of its value. It accounts for a little under half of all Rolex sales in the UK and last year also had a 36.4% market share by value of the UK luxury watch market overall. And its acquisition of US-based Mayors Jewelers for just over $100 million is another major factor in its high value. 

Apollo acquired the company in 2012. It currently trades from around 150 stores and employs over 1,000 people.

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