Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica and Blackstone: A statement from Dr. Kaufmann

Leica and Blackstone: A statement from Dr. Kaufmann

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Over the past week there has been a lively discussion on the l-forum about the rumour of an impending sale by Blackstone of its 45% holding in Leica Camera. Unusually, it appears that Leica Chairman Dr. Kaufmann himself has a personal statement. This post appeared out of the blue on the forum:

“My name is Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, through our family holding ACM, Salzburg we’re the major shareholder in LISA Germany, which holds 100% of the shares in Leica Camera AG, Wetzlar. Our Partner Blackstone is with us soon six years, and we have a very good relation over the years. Blackstone is a private equity company, these companies are co-travelers for some time, usually 5-7 years, nothing unusual.

“The Kaufmann family is committed to Leica, and we have at Leica a very stable 3-5 years road map for interesting products and services. Whatever happens, we hope that all our respected customers and friends stay loyal, as we’re heading into the future, being the last manufacturer of a certain size in this industry in Europe. You can expect exciting lenses, cameras and technologies in the next twelve months. In June 2018 we will be having a huge event at Wetzlar, as we will celebrate the opening of LeitzPark 3 (hotel, museum, archive, production site etc.). In between, whenever you are around, come visit our Headquarter – some Leica photographers call it already “the mothership”- , have a coffee at Leitz Cafe and have a look at the pictures at the Leica Galerie,

“Yours, Andreas Kaufmann

My first thought was that this could have been a hoax; it is certainly from a new user with just the one post.  But the text does have a whiff of authenticity about it.

Thanks to William Fagan for bringing this to my attention. 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Mike. There had been discussion on the forum with various speculations about who might replace Blackstone if they sell their shareholding in Leica. Blackstone don’t have to go, but are free to go, as I understand it. Venture capital firms will often sell investments in order to adjust the profile of their overall portfolio; so if Blackstone sell there would be nothing unusual about that. Part of the process for any new shareholder would be an evaluation of Leica’s business plans and also the current and future state of the camera/imaging market. We are living in rapidly changing times for cameras/imaging caused by the ‘digital revolution’. The discussion on the Forum was a little bit all over the road with some taking the opportunity to drag in irrelevant matters. I believe that the purpose behind this intervention was to calm things down, which is what has happened.

    William

    • What I find interesting is that this is a very personal intervention, rattled off by the chairman in his own hand. There is no evidence of corporate speak and he resisted the temptation to send it off to the PR team for polishing. It comes over all the better for this.

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