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Swatch buying Harry Winston luxury brand in $1 billion deal

Switzerland's biggest watch maker, Swatch Group AG, says it has agreed to pay about $1 billion to acquire Canada's Harry Winston watch and jewelry brand.

The Biel, Switzerland-based company says it will pay $750 million to acquire the brand from Toronto-based Harry Winston Diamond Corp. and will also assume as much as $250 million in debt.

The acquisition includes the Harry Winston production company in Geneva and more than 500 employees globally.

Swatch Group's chairwoman, Nayla Hayek, said in a statement Monday that the addition of a jewelry-watch brand "brilliantly complements the prestige segment" of Swatch's portfolio, helping it compete against luxury watch makers.

Harry Winston Diamond Corp.'s chairman, Robert Gannicott, said that his company would change its name to Dominion Diamond Corporation.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

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