Leica Camera is now nearly half American-owned: the company announced yesterday that it has agreed to sell a 44% minority stake to US-based private equity firm Blackstone Group. Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann says the purpose is international expansion:
[...] we are concentrating on further developing the brand and its products as well as on entering new markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East
Leica has turned things around quite a bit in the past decade. Back in 2004, Kaufmann purchased 95% of the company for around $85 million. The company reported record sales last year, and although the financial details of yesterdays deal weren’t announced, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the 44% came at a price of $179 million. This would value the company at ~$407 million, meaning the company’s value has grown by a whopping 450% over the past 7-8 years!