Patek Philippe for Sale?

Monday, January 24, 2022

The rumors go on that LVMH might acquire Patek. And economically there would be a very good reason for the Stern family to sell their crown jewel (or at least a significant share of it) Patek Philippe to the LVMH group or anybody else paying the current high price. Reason is that the current price LVMH might pay is probably higher than the company will be worth in future, given the current low interest rates for financing such an operation and the high markup the brand has versus other watch brands.

Both things could change: Rates might go up and diminish the value of the company and a top-dog today might be a gray mouse tomorrow.

But even more, the company is in some kind of dilemma: In case it is sold to LVMH, the new owner would probably increase the production numbers seriously to make its acquisition a cash cow. But in case it stays with the Stern family it would not make sense to do such aggressive increases of production numbers and weaken the myth of the family owned company with very limited output. But that means that the offer that LVMH could put on the table is much higher than what the company is worth in the monetary calculations of the Stern family -- and so it sounds even more alluring to sell.

However, the way out of this dilemma and an aspect not to underestimate is this simple fact: The Stern family has the possibility not to act like a rational investor and not to compare the potential buyers offer to their own valuation. If they dont like to sell they dont sell, simply because they dont have to and there is good reason to keep this crown jewel in their family and go on with the legend.

Ad, 2022-01-30) And one more thing to note, when thinking about the fact a top dog today might be a gray mouse tomorrow: to be honest it is currently just a very small part of the product portfolio that makes Patek stand out of the crowd: namely the Nautilus' (and Aquanauts) in all variations. And nothing bad or to blame with their other offerings, sure. Just, they are not moving them close to where they are and when making an economic analysis of the company, one might argue there is something like a cluster risk -- strip Nautilus off their portfolio and there is obviously much less of the attractivity left. And so it could be further pointed: A top product today might be a non-seller tomorrow.