A group of men’s watches from MVMT, the Los Angeles-based brand just acquired by Movado Group. (Photo credit: @laya.gerlock)
Paramus, N.J.—Movado Group Inc. is set to acquire MVMT Watches Inc., a millennial-targeted watch and accessories company launched five years ago by two 20-somethings who dropped out of college to start a business.

Under the terms of the deal announced Wednesday, Movado will pay $100 million for the company initially, or approximately $85 million after taxes, and will make two future contingent payments that, combined, could total another $100 million. The exact amount of the second payment is contingent on MVMT’s financial performance under Movado’s ownership, with no minimum future payment required.

Movado said it is funding the acquisition through cash and borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

Southern California natives Jacob Kassan, now 27, and Kramer LaPlante, 26, started MVMT in Los Angeles in 2013 after initially raising $300,000 through two crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo.

The brand started by selling just watches before adding sunglasses and other accessories last year.

Although a few retailers in the United States like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales carry MVMT, the pair built their business primarily by selling online and targeting millennial consumers, with products that are “designed for the millennial consumer with the goal of changing the way the customer thinks about fashion by delivering high-quality watches and accessories at an affordable price,” Movado said in its announcement about the acquisition.

MVMT has a “world-class digital strategy,” Movado said, as well as high brand awareness on social media, with more than 4.5 million followers across its platforms.

The company’s revenue for its most recent fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2017 totaled about $71 million, and their success at such a young age has landed Kassan and LaPlante features in numerous publications, including a spot on Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

2018 Jacob Kramer MVMTThe founders of MVMT Watches Inc., Jake Kassan, left, and Kramer LaPlante
The acquisition of MVMT gives Movado Group a “category-leading” millennial brand with exposure to younger consumers, a track record of sales growth and a strong digital presence, an area where Movado Group is investing and looking to grow.

For MVMT, being bought by Movado allows it benefit from the company’s global infrastructure and distribution network.

MVMT is the second millennial-targeted brand Movado has purchased. Last year, the Paramus, New Jersey-based watch company bought Olivia Burton, a U.K.-based watch and fashion jewelry brand.

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for Movado Group,” Chairman and CEO Efraim Grinberg said. “The acquisition of MVMT will provide us greater access to millennials and advances our Digital Center of Excellence initiative with the addition of a powerful brand managed by a team of highly creative, passionate and talented individuals … We believe significant growth opportunity lies ahead for MVMT through category, channel and geographic expansion by leveraging our scale and infrastructure. I am looking forward to welcoming Jake and Kramer, along with their 40 employees, to our company.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close on or about Oct. 1.

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