LVMH agrees to buy Tiffany for $16.2 billion
Tiffany's management endorsed the deal on Monday; French-based LVMH, known for its flagship brand Louis Vuitton, will pay $16.2 (€14.7 billion) for the iconic US jeweler. The deal has yet to be approved by the company's shareholders and regulators.
The jewelry seller boasts 300 boutiques worldwide, including its famous store on New York's 5th Avenue. It was founded in 1837 and its prestigious reputation was immortalized in the 1961 Audrey Hepburn movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's." However, the US-based company has been struggling to renew its image and draw in younger clients in recent years.
On Monday, LVMH head Bernard Arnault described Tiffany's as an "emblematic brand, an American icon that will become a little bit French."
The buy would also allow LVMH access to a new sector of the luxury market.
"These are clients who, unlike in fashion, are interested in permanence and buy a jewel to keep, but also to pass on," Arnault told the AFP news agency.
Biggest acquisition yet for LVMH
The French company started courting Tiffany some six weeks ago. LVMH initially offered $120 per share, but the bid was eventually raised to $135 to conclude the sale. The deal is set to be finalized by mid-2020.
In addition to Louis Vuitton, LVMH owns around 75 luxury brands, including Christian Dior, Givenchy, watchmaker Tag Heuer, winery Moet & Chandon, and jeweler Bulgari. Even so, the Tiffany deal marks the largest acquisition in the history of the French giant.
LVMH is the largest luxury group in the world, posting a net profit of $7 billion in 2018. CEO Bernard Arnault has a net worth of more than $106 billion, according to the Forbes magazine, making him the richest man in Europe and the third-richest person in the world behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
dj/ng (AFP, AP, dpa)
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