Paris, France (AHN) – Is this the start of a battle between two of France’s luxury goods companies? Hermes reportedly rejected an “attack” on its capital from Louis-Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH).
LVMH, the French holding company and the world’s largest luxury goods group that owns more than 50 global brands, including Christian Dior perfumes, Givenchy fashion and TAG Hauer watches, now owns a bit of stake in Hermes. Hermes is a French fashion house that has branched into perfume and luxury goods.
Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH, announced he had bought 17 percent of his rival Hermes. However, he insisted that he is not trying for a hostile takeover. Instead, according to Le Figar, Arnault is calling himself a “friendly” long-term shareholder.
It’s unclear which – his stake in the company or the term “friendly long-term shareholder” – rubbed Hermes the wrong way, but it appears the company was irked.
“If you want to be friendly, Mr. Arnault, you should withdraw,” Hermes executives Bertrand Puech and Patrick Thomas reportedly told French daily newspaper Le Figaro. Puech is a fifth-generation heir of Hermes’ founder Emile Hermes, while Thomas is the family owned firm’s manager. The pair alleged Arnault’s tactics in taking the stake were questionable and said they hoped the financial services watchdog would investigate.
“This entry has nothing friendly about it. It was neither wanted nor asked for,” said Thomas, as Puech complained that he had had barely one hours notice from Arnault before LVMH released a statement confirming its purchase.
But, both executives, while clearly angry, said that Arnault’s move would not change the culture at Hermes. In addition, Arnault has not asked for a seat on the board.
“We’re artisans; our goal is to make the best products in the world,” Puech told Le Figaro. “We’re not in luxury, we’re in quality.”