Jeweller Links of London is for sale for up to £100 million. Founding owners – and husband and wife – John Ayton and Annoushka Ducas decided to put the company up for sale after receiving several approaches. They have released a memorandum to potential financial buyers stating the asking price. According to one private equity group, the price indication of £100 million is “optimistic”, reports the Financial Times, adding that one of the interested parties is Icelandic group Baugur. The acquisitive group recently forked out £21 million for luxury jeweller Mappin & Webb.
The couple control two-thirds of the business and are being advised on an exit by UBS Wealth Management. In the meantime, they have ceded control of day-to-day operatons to managing director Gareth Morris, whom they hired from luxury goods group Richemont.
One private equity group told the FT that, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £1.3 million on sales of £23 million, Links should indicate a price of less than £50 million. However, chairman John Ayton expects profits to treble this year, thanks to expansion in North America and Asia and the opening of a flagship on Sloane Square . Ayton said the company plans to increase sales “to £100 million in four years”. Therefore, Link’s advisers are asking a premium based on these projections.
Ayton and Ducas opened the first Links store in Broadgate in 1990. Ducas, the company’s creative director, first designed sterling silver cufflinks, which the company initially sold, but Links has diversified since then and now has 45 stores.
The jeweller recently opened stores and concessions in New York and Canada . According to the memorandum, there is potential for rapid international expansion and strong wholesale demand. There are plans in the pipeline to open more outlets in North America and Japan this year, and the company said it is in talks to expand into China and Taiwan .
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