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|| Chinese family office acquired stake in French crystal maker Baccarat for $190 million

china-france-baccarat.jpgFortune Fountain Capital, a Chinese family office and investment firm, has acquired 88% stake in Baccarat, a French crystal company, for around $190 million.

Founded in 1764, Baccarat is a French luxury brand in high-end crystal products. It manufactures and sells a range of products, including jewelry and accessories, as well as home and decoration products. The jewelry offered by the company includes rings, pendants, necklaces and bracelets, among others. (Fortune Fountain Capital, with Chairlady Coco Chu, is a financial group established by families in Hong Kong and the Mainland China. Its major shareholder comes from the family of Mr. Wang Xizhi, one of the most famous calligraphers in Chinese history. It is active in financial services, wealth management, family office and principal investment, with its business and client portfolio spreading across Asia, North America and Europe).

Fortune Fountain Capital is listed in the Chinese Private Equity and Venture Capital Directory with the code CJL41.

More details follows:

Fortune Fountain Capital ("FFC"), a prominent Asian financial group established as a family office, today announced an irrevocable offer to acquire 88.8% of the share capital of Baccarat, the internationally renowned French luxury crystal Maison, from affiliates of Starwood Capital Group and L Catterton.

FFC would acquire the shares from the Starwood Capital and L Catterton affiliates at a price of EUR222.7 per share (the "Block Purchase"), for c. EUR164m. The closing of the Block Purchase would be followed by the filing with the Autorite des Marches Financiers of a mandatory tender offer for the remaining outstanding shares at the same price per share. At this stage, FFC does not intend to have Baccarat delisted from Euronext Paris. However, depending on, inter alia, the outcome of the tender offer process and what the best interest of Baccarat would call for, FFC may reconsider its position and implement a squeeze-out procedure.

The proposed Block Purchase by FFC is subject to the applicable Work Council consultation process in France and certain regulatory approvals in the People's Republic of China.

The acquisition by FFC will enable Baccarat to accelerate its strategic international plans, including expansion into emerging markets such as Asia and the Middle East, as well as continued growth across existing developed markets, particularly North America. FFC is committed to investing extensively in Baccarat's core business and supporting the company's development through further expansion into adjacent luxury categories, by fully leveraging its extensive business network in the luxury sector and its close relationships with various prominent families across Asia and Europe.

FFC will maintain the entire production and workforce in Baccarat, and honor the crystal makers' two-and-a-half centuries of heritage and perfect craftsmanship. Ms. Daniela Riccardi, CEO of Baccarat since 2013, who has significantly contributed to the company's financial performance improvement during her tenure, with sales reaching c. EUR 148m and EBITDA growing to c. EUR 13m in 2016, will continue to lead the company with the strong support of FFC. The hotel license with Starwood Capital Group's controlled affiliate will be maintained in the framework of a partnership between Baccarat, FFC and Starwood Capital Group. The license to operate and brand Baccarat Hotels has been retained by Starwood Capital Group's controlled affiliate.

Ms. Coco Chu, Chairlady of FFC, said: "We have been impressed by the exceptional know-how and expertise of Baccarat's employees. We are convinced that FFC, with its extensive global business network, is an ideal strategic partner to position Baccarat for future growth and value creation. We attach the greatest importance to maintaining this company's 250-year history of excellence, and most notably its "Made in France" identity. We will support the development of the company, relying on Daniela and her talented team, who are best suited to drive Baccarat's upcoming development strategy. It is our firm belief that we will make Baccarat a most recognized icon of luxury lifestyle."

Ms. Daniela Riccardi, Chief Executive Officer of Baccarat, commented: "We are very pleased to enter a new phase of our development by partnering with Fortune Fountain Capital. FFC understands and deeply respects the DNA of the brand and its heritage. We share the same vision for the future of our business, especially regarding the expansion into new products and geographies, such as Asia and North America. We will benefit from FFC's financial strength and expertise in these markets, as well as from its extended base of partners and clients in the luxury industry."

Societe Generale acted as exclusive financial advisor to FFC, while Clifford Chance acted as legal advisor.

Messier Maris & Associes acted as exclusive financial advisor to Starwood Capital Group and
L Catterton, while Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as legal advisor.

Fortune Fountain Capital is a prominent financial group established by renowned families in Hong Kong and the Mainland China. Its major shareholder comes from the family of Mr. Wang Xizhi, the most famous calligrapher in Chinese history. FFC is active in financial services, wealth management, family office and principal investment, with its business and client portfolio spreading across Asia, North America and Europe. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, FFC serves a vast network of high-net-worth individuals and distinguished families by offering a wide range of financial products and services, as well as luxury experience and lifestyle services, including high-end travel agency, artwork, private jet charter, golf tournament, etc. FFC seeks to source attractive investment opportunities for its own founding families and family office clients' long term strategic holding.

Baccarat is a French luxury brand internationally renowned as a leader in high-end and exclusive crystal products. Since its foundation in 1764, the company, whose artisanal manufacture is based in Baccarat in the Lorraine region of Eastern France, has been synonymous with a unique savoir-faire and has come to symbolize an inimitable French Art de Vivre. For 250 years, the brand has inspired leading designers from across the world. Ranging from iconic lighting to unique tableware and decorative objects, fine jewelry and tailor-made flacons, the brand's products and tradition of excellence are widely distributed around the globe. Explore the world of Baccarat at www.Baccarat.com.

Starwood Capital Group is a private alternative investment firm with a core focus on global real estate, energy infrastructure and oil & gas. The Firm and its affiliates maintain 10 offices in four countries around the world, and currently have more than 2,200 employees. Starwood Capital has raised over $40 billion of equity capital since its inception in 1991, and currently manages more than $51 billion in assets. The Firm has invested in virtually every category of real estate on a global basis, opportunistically shifting asset classes, geographies and positions in the capital stack as it perceives risk/reward dynamics to be evolving. Over the past 26 years, Starwood Capital and its affiliates have successfully executed an investment strategy that involves building enterprises in both the private and public markets. Additional information can be found at starwoodcapital.com.

With over $14 billion of equity capital across six fund strategies in 17 offices globally, L Catterton is the largest consumer-focused private equity firm in the world. L Catterton's team of more than 140 investment and operating professionals partners with management teams around the world to implement strategic plans to foster growth, leveraging deep category insight, operational excellence, and a broad thought partnership network. Since 1989, the firm has made over 150 investments in leading consumer brands. L Catterton was formed through the partnership of Catterton, LVMH and Groupe Arnault. For more information about L Catterton, please visit lcatterton.com.

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