Geneva Watch Group Acquired By Time Watch Investments Ltd.

In What's New, Industry News by Accessories Staff

genevaNew York—Sunshine Time Inc., a subsidiary of Time Watch Investments Limited (TWI ) has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Geneva Watch Group, marketers of Kenneth Cole, Ted Baker London, Sperry Topsider, Tommy Bahama, Sean John and Freestyle and Game Time fashion watch brands.

In conjunction with the acquisition, the company has received a commitment for up to $17.5 million in financing provided by Wells Fargo Bank to support future growth. The acquisition comes on the heels of Geneva filing for bankruptcy in September. Terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 1988, Time Watch Investments Limited is the manufacturer, brand-owner and retailer of watches in China under their core proprietary brand, Tian Wang. Under the company’s management, Tian Wang was the top national watch brand in China in 2011, with a market share of 11.1% out of retail sales among approximately 130 national watch brands.

As of 2015, TWI directly controls and manages an extensive sales network consisting of 2,805 points of sale, covering 30 out of 31 provinces in China.

‘Bright Future’

Geneva introduced a connected watch this year under the Kenneth Cole brand

Geneva introduced a connected watch this year under the Kenneth Cole brand

“Geneva has always proven itself to be a leader in its markets and has remained firmly committed to steadily growing its core branded watch businesses,” said Tung Koon Ming, chairman of TWI. “We believe that the future is bright for the company with its distinguished portfolio of brands and we look forward to supporting its plans for growth in the future.”

Jeffrey L. Gregg, chief executive at Geneva, added: “We are extremely pleased with the acquisition by TWI and the chance to become part of such a successful group. This transaction will protect our valuable franchise and allow us to look forward to contributing to the future growth and expansion of the group. We appreciate all of the support provided by our customers, licensors, distributors and suppliers during our efforts to reposition the company to successfully build our business together in the future, and we are very excited to be aligned to do so effectively.”

Gregg, who as acted as chief restructuring officer at Geneva, told the U.S. federal bankruptcy court that Geneva suffered from a series of challenges that hit its profit. While Geneva’s gross revenue hit $221 million in 2012, by 2013 things had changed along with the loss of two licenses, Betsey Johnson in 2010 and Dolce & Gabbana in 2013.

In 2014 and 2015, the company incurred “significant losses” because of “operational challenges, weakness in the domestic watch market, failed new product launches, and the failure to align overhead costs to regain profitability,” said Gregg. To make matters worse, in June its corporate parent Binda had insolvency proceedings in Italy, which further hindered Geneva’s liquidity, forcing it to restructure. Geneva reported total about $41 million and liabilities totaling $98 million, according to its bankruptcy filing.

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