Case Study

Entrepreneur Owner-Manager: Family Stockholders

Schonbek Worldwide Lighting Inc. Acquired by Swarovski

Schonbek Worldwide Lighting Inc. (“Schonbek”) is the leading designer, marketer, and manufacturer of fine crystal chandeliers in the world, and is one of the most recognized and respected decorative lighting brands worldwide. Schonbek traces its founding to 1870 in Bohemia, and believes it is the oldest, continuously family-owned and operated lighting company in the world.

Bigelow Assignment:

To proactively seek the best new majority shareholder and orchestrate a transaction that allowed for the current owner and CEO to capture his family’s capital as well as transition his own role from CEO to exclusively design leadership.

Unique Challenge:

Find an investor who would value the Company on its historical traditions, brand name, and unique attributes, not on an arithmetic valuation based only on current profits.

Outcome:

Bigelow considered investors that could value Schonbek’s unique attributes – 4th generation family owned and led, global leadership in chandeliers, finest design, quality and brand, and importantly never having previously been available for purchase. Bigelow pre-qualified a select group of best-fit investors who would value the Company based on its decades of success.

Bigelow’s thoughtful approach led to the selection of Swarovski as the preferred partner. Swarovski, founded in 1895 also in Bohemia, is one of the most recognized luxury brands in the world. Swarovski is the world’s leading producer of precision-cut crystal components and elements. While Swarovski is a much larger privately held business with sales of $3.3 billion and 20,000 employees around the world, both are leading brands, set apart by a drive for innovation and excellence.

“I’m motivated by a sense of stewardship; this company is a living organism that I want to see survive and flourish. I feel a degree of connectedness and relationship with Bigelow – and that’s a precious thing. The sale of a family business is always emotional. Advisors are interacting on many levels, and Bigelow has a high degree of empathy and emotional intelligence. ”

Andrew Schonbek
4th Generation & CEO
Schonbek Worldwide Lighting

“I found a kindred spirit in Bigelow. I know a lot about buying and selling businesses. Bigelow is focused on the entrepreneur and they do it well.
Bigelow gave this their complete attention, 24/7 service, and never left the scene. Schonbek needed an advisor all along the way and they were always there.”

Hillel Rosen
Partner
Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP