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Dueling over diamonds: LVMH says Tiffany not worth buyout as spat gets ugly

It's an ugly spat for such a glamorous industry: French brand LVMH and US jeweler Tiffany & Co are blaming each other for the collapse of what would have been the sector's biggest-ever buyout deal

Tiffany's | Diamonds | Luxury brands

AP  |  Paris 

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

It's an ugly spat for such a glamorous industry: French luxury powerhouse LVMH and US jeweler Tiffany & Co. are blaming each other for the collapse of what would have been the sector's biggest-ever buyout deal.

Paris-based LVMH had announced Wednesday it was abandoning the USD 14.5 billion takeover plan because the French government had requested a delay to assess the impact of proposed U.S. tariffs. Tiffany sued to enforce the deal, and on Thursday LVMH lashed back.

The Paris-based conglomerate whose holdings including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, Bulgari and Sephora issued a statement threatening legal action of its own, accusing Tiffany of mismanaging the financial crisis prompted by virus lockdowns.

LVMH criticised Tiffany for issuing dividends even as it was losing money, and Tiffany's performance in the first half of this year was significantly worse than that of other LVMH brands during the period. "LVMH confirms that the conditions are not met" to close the deal, it said.

Even before Wednesday's announcement, the deal's value had been eroded by wider industry troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused retail sales to plunge around the world. Tiffany, based in New York, said LVMH's argument for halting the buyout has no basis in

French law, and that LVMH hadn't attempted to seek the required antitrust approval from three jurisdictions. LVMH disputed that, and said the necessary approvals were expected in October.

Tiffany, known for its delicate jewelry, distinctive blue boxes and an Audrey Hepburn movie, had been trying to transform its brand to appeal to younger and more digital shoppers. LVMH, had thought the deal would strengthen its position in high-end jewelry and in the U.S. market.

The pandemic threw all those assumptions and plans in doubt, and the threat of new tariffs between the U.S. and Europe was cited as a further complicating issue.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, September 10 2020. 21:08 IST