Why the rocky engagement between Tiffany and LVMH might survive

THE MOST ardent romances result in the most acrimonious divorces. In the case of Tiffany and LVMH, rancour preceded the nuptials. In the amorous phase the French luxury giant behind Louis Vuitton had described the American purveyor of engagement rings as a corporate jewel, agreeing to a $17bn takeover ten months ago. It used an altogether less romantic tone in a Delaware court filing this week as it tried to break the match. Investors, meanwhile, are betting on a happy ending.

Rumours had swirled since the start of the covid-19 pandemic in March that Bernard Arnault, boss of LVMH, wanted to renegotiate the punchy price tag agreed on in November. On September 9th LVMH announced it could not go ahead with the deal, for an unexpected reason: a letter from the French minister of foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, had asked it to defer the planned takeover of its American target to January 2021, beyond the agreed closing date. The delay would apparently give France more cards in a festering transatlantic trade spat.

Tiffany accused LVMH of engineering the supposed block from the foreign ministry—which soon insisted its letter was merely a polite recommendation, not an order. LVMH vehemently denied asking the authorities to intervene. Unhelpfully, on September 22nd Mr Le Drian told the French parliament he had indeed...

via Business Feeds

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