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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:38 pm 
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Hi folks,

Numerous reports about this on the web so, from Leica News and Rumors:
    Leica Camera gains strategic investor in Blackstone
    ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH will remain the majority shareholder


    London, Solms: The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) and ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH today announced they have agreed a strategic partnership whereby investment funds advised by Blackstone will acquire, indirectly through a holding company, a 44% minority stake in Leica Camera AG (“Leica”), to support Leica’s international growth plans. ACM and Blackstone have agreed that the value of the transaction will not be disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in Q4/2011.

    Headquartered in Solms, Germany, with 1,150 employees, Leica has a long tradition of manufacturing premium-segment cameras and sport optics products. Over the past sixty years, Leica has grown to become a leading German brand and is seen as the epitome of German engineering excellence and an ambassador of the “Made in Germany” quality seal. Leica has become synonymous with the best tools of the trade, blending hand-crafted quality with a dedication to precision mechanics and producing the best optics the industry has to offer.

    Building from this highly successful market position, Leica now endeavours to expand the business into new markets. Blackstone is seen as the right partner to support Leica management to achieve these goals in light of its global footprint, in particular with significant operations in Asia, and its development capital and strategic expertise.

    Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica commented on the transaction: “With Blackstone we have gained an experienced and internationally established strategic partner, which also understands and appreciates the established brand philosophy and business model of Leica. Following the successful turnaround of the business and record sales last year, we are now focused on the continued development of the brand, its products and our growth plans into new markets such as Asia, South America and the Middle East. ACM has no plans to sell more shares in Leica Camera AG. Our long term strategy is to accompany Leica Camera in its continued expansion worldwide.”

    Axel Herberg, Blackstone Senior Managing Director, said: “Leica is deeply rooted in Germany’s history and we would like to help grow the business in a manner that is true to this heritage, ensuring that the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Leica unique is preserved. We are very excited about supporting Leica to secure long-term commercial relationships, specifically in emerging markets, and help strengthen the company’s operational and retailing capabilities globally.”

    Leica Camera AG concluded the 2010/2011 financial year with record sales of € 248.8m. The Hessen-based traditional manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products increased turnover by 57.2 % compared to the previous year (€ 158.2 m). The operating result (EBIT) increased almost six fold: it rose from € 7.4 m in 2009/2010 to € 41.6m. The consolidated surplus also took a positive turn: at € 36.3 m it is more than eleven times the previous year’s figure (€ 3.2m). The sales increase is attributed above all to the strong demand for the two camera systems, Leica M and Leica S.

    About Leica Camera AG

    Leica Camera AG is an international premium manufacturer of premium cameras and sport optics products. The legendary status of the Leica brand is based on a long tradition of excellence in the production of lenses. In combination with innovative technologies, Leica products continue to this day to guarantee superior image quality and visual perception. The headquarters of Leica Camera AG are located in the Hessen town of Solms, with a second production site in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal. The company is active in 54 markets internationally and operates branches in England, France, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea and the USA. New, innovative products have been the driving force of the company’s growth in recent years. Further information and images are available at www.leica-camera-extranet.com (login: press, password: turnaround2011) or at www.leica-camera.com.
Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:47 am 
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Hi folks,

A report of the recent Leica Experience Day Keynote offers that:
    Dr. Kaufmann explained that Leica can cope with such a big range of new projects (expansion of lens production, worldwide Leica Akademie, Leica Store network, Leitz Park – and the development of new Leica products) with a strong partner
That being a reference, of course, to the Blackstone deal that was the subject of this thread. It is also reported that:
    Dr. Kaufmann didn’t make any announcements of new products – but he quickened our appetite. He promised more than one surprise for next year – and he told us that they haven’t been discussed or discovered by Leica Rumors or the Leica Forum until now.
Well, we have had plenty of discussion about an M10 and also about a mirrorless (yes, I know the M-system doesn't have a reflex mirror) model. My guess is that Leica will already be fully stretched in terms of manufacturing capability (they are still struggling to satisfy lens demand) so this might be a tie up with a third party manufacturer. We already see Leica badges and customisation of Panasonic models so maybe more of the same? A task for Bjorn to devote his journalistic skills to when he visits Leica next month. :)

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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