Blackstone in talks to sell stake in Leica, Zeiss is “potentially interested”

Reuters reports that Blackstone is in talks to sell their stake in Leica:

The investor has teamed up with an investment bank to work out strategic options for the company and has already held talks with several potential acquirers, the people said, adding no official auction process was underway.

"ACM has long-term goals with Leica Camera," Leica Chairman and ACM managing director Andreas Kaufmann told Reuters, adding that his family's definition of long-term was that of a 100-year horizon.

Potential buyers are Zeiss, a few Asian companies and private equity funds:

Zeiss is potentially interested in Leica Camera, but would only agree to a deal if it was able to secure a majority stake, the sources said.

Potential buyers include other family investors, they said, adding that Asian optics groups and private equity funds had also shown interest.

Last year, Chinese investor CDH expressed interest in buying Blackstone's stake in Leica, but no deal materialized, one of the people said.

The latest Leica financials:

Leica is expected to report earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of roughly 70 million euros this year and may have a valuation of around 700 million euros ($828 million) in a potential deal, people close to the matter said.

Via Reuters

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  • FountainHead

    “We can either buy 45% of the operation, or buy a few Ms and Noctiluxes for the same price. Still thinking.”

    –Hedge Fund Manager

  • eric

    This would be welcomed im sure. I think it’s more likely some Chinese company gets a stake than Zeiss, unless they can gain a majority. I would suggest Apple as a potential investor but it would only happen if it could own Leica completely.

    • I also think it will be a Chinese company that will buy the 45%. Maybe even Huawei. The other option is Panasonic.

      • eric

        Huawei would be interesting since they partnered with Leica before. It could help the dream of a true Leica phone coming to fruition. Although, like others have pointed out, switching from ios to android isn’t going to happen for a lot of people.

        • No kidding. I don’t care how good the lens is, I’m not using Android.

    • Ski542002

      Would love to see Apple swing some kind of deal with Leica. At least the marketing philosophy of both institutions is one of producing a quality product. The customer base of both are also somewhat accepting of the products’ higher price point. I’d fear having any Chinese company buying heavily into Leica.

      • eric

        Jony Ive is a Leica fan and happens to be apples lead designer & a future potential steve jobs successor to the throne. It would be really cool if a partnership happened but I doubt it. Apple buys companies more or less and really hasn’t shown any interest in working with other brands. Unless Apple can buy all of Leica i don’t see them working together.

        • I am not sure what can Apple gain from such purchase. Iphone camera lens design? Be able to slap the Leica logo on their phone cameras?

          • eric

            Yeah, those are really the only two things Leica has to offer apple. Probably more wishful thinking than anything. Im still curious why Kauffman wants to make a smartphone. It just doesn’t seem like a good use of time. Nobody really knows how long smartphones in the current form will last even. The camera market is shrinking but even leica is still profitable and I don’t see the traditional look of cameras going away anytime soon.

  • K Aida

    I expect Sigma to buy the stakes.

  • I got info on what Reuters is reporting today a while back, but there was not enough info to make a post.

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