LVMH is close to $16.7 billion deal to buy Tiffany

The world's largest luxury goods company is close to completing a deal to buy Tiffany & Co., in what would be the largest ever in the luxury sector

By Vanessa Friedman, Elizabeth Paton and Andrew Ross Sorkin
Published: Nov 25, 2019

g_124057_bg_lvmhtiffanydeal1_280x210.jpgThe flagship store of Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York, April 4, 2017. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, is close to completing a deal to buy Tiffany & Company, according to people briefed on the acquisition. The combination, worth $16.7 billion, would be the largest ever in the luxury sector. (John Taggart/The New York Times)

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will be having a lot of breakfasts at Tiffany’s — as well as lunches, dinners and board meetings.

The world’s largest luxury goods company is close to completing a deal to buy Tiffany & Co., according to people briefed on the acquisition. The transaction, worth $16.7 billion, would be the largest ever in the luxury sector.

The companies were putting the finishing touches on the deal Sunday afternoon, with the boards of both companies meeting to approve it, these people said. They hope to announce it Monday morning.

LVMH is dominant in the fashion, leather goods and wines and spirits sectors with brands like Dior, Givenchy, Fendi, Château d’Yquem and Dom Pérignon. The acquisition of Tiffany would make it a major player in the so-called hard luxury sector (things like watches and jewelry), adding to its purchase of Bulgari in 2011. It also gives the French group its most significant beachhead in the American market. The Tiffany brand is recognizable around the world thanks to its signature blue boxes, but it also occupies a singular, romantic place in the American landscape: Its Fifth Avenue flagship is as much a landmark in the myth of aspiration and the gleaming promise of sparkling baubles as Rockefeller Center or the Plaza hotel.

At the same time, the deal would end Tiffany’s 182-year history as a stand-alone brand, and it reflects the difficulty of remaining independent in an age of increasing consolidation.

g_124059_bg_lvmhtiffanydeal2_280x210.jpgBernard Arnault, Europe's richest man, who controls LVMH, at the Karl Lagerfeld tribute at Grand Palais in Paris, June 20, 2019. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, is close to completing a deal to buy Tiffany & Company, according to people briefed on the acquisition. The combination, worth $16.7 billion, would be the largest ever in the luxury sector. (Dmitry Kostyukov/The New York Times)

LVMH, controlled by Europe’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, will pay $135 per share in cash for the jeweler, these people said. The terms of the final bid, which were first reported by the Financial Times on Sunday, value Tiffany shares at $16.3 billion. The company has about $350 million in debt.

LVMH’s takeover of Tiffany signifies the company’s increasing interest in areas beyond traditional soft luxury goods like clothing and leather goods. It follows its acquisition of Belmond hospitality group last December for $2.6 billion and a majority stake in the German luggage brand Rimowa in 2016 for $719 million. It also marks LVMH’s second major investment in an American brand this year, following its creation of a new luxury house, Fenty, with Rihanna.

©2019 New York Times News Service

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