Winston expands with BHP deal


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The Independent Online

Harry Winston, the luxury jeweller with outlets in Harrods and in Bond Street, is expanding the mining side of its business after paying BHP Billiton $500m (£315m) for a controlling stake in a Canadian diamond mine.

The deal will see the Canadian jeweller, named after its late founder, buying BHP's 80 per cent stake in Ekati, Canada's oldest diamond mine, in a transaction that will mark the FTSE 100 miner's exit from the diamond industry.

The acquisition of Ekati, in Canada's Northwest Territories, will bulk up Harry Winston's presence in mining as the group, like other jewellery makers, seeks to secure access to gems.

The company, whose founder recognised a two-carat emerald in a pawn shop and sold it two days later for $800 when he was 12 years old, owns a 40 per cent stake in the Diavik mine, also in the Northwest Territories, in a joint venture with Rio Tinto.

Harry Winston fought off competition from suitors such as De Beers and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the US buyout firm.