India Brook Partners advises Time Watch Investments in acquisition of Geneva Watch Group in Section 363 Bankruptcy Sale
Short Hills, NJ, November 30, 2015. Brook Advisors, the investment banking arm of India Brook Partners, is pleased to announce that it acted as exclusive financial advisor to Time Watch Investments, Ltd. (TWI) in connection with TWI’s acquisition of the assets and business of Geneva Watch Group, New York, New York. Geneva Watch is a marketer of fashion watches under leading designer brand names including Kenneth Cole, Ted Baker London, Sperry Topsider, Tommy Bahama, Sean John, Freestyle and Game Time.
In conjunction with the acquisition, TWI has received a commitment for $17.5 million in financing provided by Wells Fargo Bank to support future growth. Geneva had filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2015 and the acquisition was completed in a Court-approved sale transaction under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The transaction was completed on an expedited basis to reposition the Geneva Watch business as well as to preserve relationships with licensors and customers of the Company.
Geneva had incurred significant operational difficulties in 2013 and 2014. According to its Chief Restructuring Officer Jeff Gregg, Geneva 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.” To make matters worse, in June 2015 its corporate parent Binda had insolvency proceedings in Italy, which further hindered Geneva’s liquidity, forcing it to restructure. Geneva reported total assets of about $41 million and liabilities totaling $98 million, according to its bankruptcy filing.
Founded in 1988, TWI is a global manufacturer and distributor of watches and watch components. With 2016 revenues of HK$2,606 million ($336 million est.), TWI is listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (2033.HK). TWI is the manufacturer, brand-owner and retailer of watches in the Peoples Republic of China under the proprietary Tian Wang brand. Tian Wang is the top selling national watch brand in China, with a market share of 11.1% out of retail sales among approximately 130 national watch brands. TWI directly controls and manages an extensive sales network consisting of 2,805 points of sale, covering 30 out of 31 provinces in China.
Brook Advisors/India Brook acted as exclusive financial advisor to the buyer in this transaction, in which TWI acted as the stalking horse bidder and acquired the Geneva business following a court supervised auction. Founded in 2003 and based in Short Hills, NJ., India Brook Partners is a leading independent investment banking firm providing mergers and acquisitions advisory services to corporations, institutional investors and management groups. The Firm specializes in consumer products companies including food and beverage luxury goods, personal care and household products.