PARIS Oct 17 Harry Winston Diamond Corp
is looking to sell its watch and jewellery business to
concentrate on its mining business instead, and has been
approaching potential buyers such as luxury groups LVMH
and PPR, a source close to the matter said.
"They are looking to sell these assets and are doing the
rounds among potential buyers," one of the sources said.
Harry Winston, which started as a small jeweller in New York
in 1924, was made famous by Marilyn Monroe's reference to the
firm in the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend".
Every year it lends hundreds of millions of dollars worth of
jewels to actresses making red carpet appearance at events such
as the Oscars.
The company, which owns 40 percent of the Diavik Diamond
Mine joint venture, Canada's largest diamond miner, posted lower
quarterly profits last month and said luxury demand had slowed
as consumers had become increasingly cautious due the
uncertainty in the global economy.
PPR, which owns jeweller Boucheron and watch brands
Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard, has always said it wanted to
make acquisitions in "hard luxury," namely watches and
LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, which completed the
acquisition of Italy's Bulgari last year, also owns jewellers
Fred and Chaumet as well as watchmakers Tag Heuer, Hublot and
Zenith and is also on the lookout for potential acquisitions.
Shares in Harry Winston, were up 7 percent on Wednesday in
morning trade on the Toronto exchange at C$14.49.
Both PPR and LVMH declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman
for Harry Winston.