According to a report by Reuters, a stake in Leica is up for sale. Buyout group Blackstone is in talks with potential buyers, and Zeiss is one of the potential buyers. 45% percent stake in Leica is up for sale, and judging from the report, there are already several acquirers interested.
Reuters relies on the sources coming from the “people close to the matter.” They claim that the investor has teamed up with an investment bank. There are several potential buyers, but there’s no official auction process yet. Among the interested buyers, there are Huawei and Zeiss so far. However, as Reuters reports, Zeiss would only agree to the deal if they could have a majority stake. Still, to do this, they would need to come to terms with Kaufmann family, who still own the majority stake in the company.
As the Chairman of Leica Dr. Andreas Kaufmann tells Reuters, “ACM has long-term goals with Leica Camera.” In other words, it means a “100-year horizon.” In the end of 2007, the Kauffman family held 97% stake in Leica. Their vehicle ACM owns 55% stake, and they have brought in Blackstone as a co-investor in 2011.
According to Reuters, “Leica is expected to report earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of roughly 70 million euros this year.” Furthermore, they say that the iconic company could have “a valuation of around 700 million euros ($828 million) in a potential deal.”
For now, there are no comments from Zeiss and Huawei on the matter. Still, if Zeiss does become the co-owner, it will surely be an interesting match.