Exclusive: More on the Baselworld 2020 Settlement (updated)

In a short announcement today, the Baselworld management, the MCH Group, announced that the fair organisers had reached an agreement with the fair participants regarding Baselworld 2021 and the financial responsibilities of parties involved on either end.

Read about the details of that agreement here.

Revolution has since learnt more information about the agreements that were reached. We’ve also learnt that the information was only briefly introduced to the participant brands, via a phone call from the Baselworld organisers, and in one email that was sent to them after the agreement was reached with the Exhibiting Committee.

What’s notable is that the exhibiting committee’s members include a number of representatives from the brands that are departing Baselworld, in particular the president, Mr Hubert J. du Plessix, who’s also the head of investments and logistics at Rolex.

Read more about Rolex’s departure from Baselworld here.

Read more about the LVMH Group’s departure from Baselworld here.

According to Baselworld, the reason for the existing Exhibitor’s Committee to negotiate the terms of the agreement was “for all Baselworld 2020 exhibitors, including Rolex, Patek Philippe and Chopard to settle the case and close definitively the situation with Baselworld 2020 (final agreement on financial aspects). Now that this is done, and all is cleared, Baselworld can now enter in a new process of consultation of the community, to identify the needs in order to develop a potential new format in the future.” It did not further specify what this new process would be, nor how it would engage with participating brands.

Goodbye Baselworld, Hello New World

According to sources, the alleged agreement for participating brands is to have a 65% refund, meaning the Baselworld management retains 35% of the fees for Baselworld 2020. This is significantly different from the previous settlements offered by Baselworld. As we have written reported prior:

  1. Commit to participating in the Baselworld 2021 fair, in which case 85% of the fees paid would be considered a deposit, with the remaining 15% retained by the MCH Group for costs incurred by the organisation/cancellation/postponement of the fair.
  2. Refund cancelling brands 25-30% of the fees paid.

Obviously, the new offer, which is only valid until the end of the month, is far more costly than the previous option 1 and significantly more than the option 2. The question we’d like to know is, why in the span of a month, have costs increased so significantly that the new negotiating price is 20% more than the earlier offer.

Furthermore, — and again, allegedly — according to our sources, the departing brands — Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Chanel, Hublot, Zenith, TAG Heuer and Bvlgari — will allow Baselworld to retain 40% of their fees to ameliorate the costs to smaller brands as a result of their departure.

More shockingly, our source has shared with us that the Baselworld organisers did not inform exhibitors of their intention to drop the Baselworld moniker, which was communicated to Revolution in an email interview.

There’s also little information provided so far as to how the brands will be engaged with the conceptualisation of the new fair, for which new dates are being floated but unconfirmed. There’s also no indication if there will be fresh coordination efforts between the MCH Group and the FHH.

This is a developing story and will be updated. In the meantime, we would like to offer our sympathies to the many vendors that will now be affected due to the cancellation of Baselworld in 2020 and 2021, most notably the sausage vendor of the fair, which we are all too intimately familiar with.

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