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Brad Pitt watchmaker warrants celebrity valuation

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Breitling watches are displayed in Basel, Switzerland, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

MILAN, Sept 10 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Hollywood stardust is giving Breitling some financial sparkle. The Swiss maker of aviator timepieces touted by celebrities like Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron and Adam Driver has nearly doubled its sales on CVC’s four-year watch. The buyout firm is now considering flogging a 20% stake. Breitling’s luxury label and A-list promoters put a 3 billion Swiss franc valuation in reach.

CVC-backed Chief Executive Georges Kern has done a good job. Breitling was barely keeping time in 2017 when CVC took it over in a deal valuing it at around 800 million Swiss francs. Kern simplified its range of products, expanded its retail network and rejuvenated its manly image to appeal to women and youngsters. He was rewarded with sales climbing from 400 million Swiss francs to 700 million Swiss francs, producing about 175 million Swiss francs…

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