Baupost buys majority stake in Timex

Watchmaker Timex Group has new hedge fund ownership, with an affiliate of Boston-based The Baupost Group buying a majority stake in the company in an announced transaction that is expected to close before year-end.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed and are subject to regulatory review.

“Timex Group’s storied 166-year history, and incredible portfolio of brands and brand partnerships, offer a unique opportunity to drive innovation and growth in the watch industry,” said Tom Blumenthal, partner and head of private corporate investments at $29 billion The Baupost Group. “We believe in the company’s strategic vision and the ability of the management team to achieve it. We look forward to supporting the company for years to come.”

The investment is an expression of Baupost’s confidence in Timex Group’s long-term future, officials said. The company has built the Timex brand into a household name synonymous with quality and innovation. Timex Group also designs, manufactures, and markets timepieces under license for globally recognized brands, such as Guess, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Furla, Missoni and Ted Baker.

Tobias Reiss-Schmidt remains Timex Group’s CEO. Reiss Schmidt said that with the involvement of Baupost, the company plans to accelerate market penetration in key regions and product segments and further grow its band portfolio.

As for Seth Klarman’s Baupost the investments in new opportunities come from the approximately 30% the firm holds in cash or cash equivalents. The firm’s experience in private equity includes transactions with family or founder-owned businesses, crossover public/private investments; structured investments; recapitalization and expansion investments; and carve outs.

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