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Luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE has reached a $16.2 billion deal to buy American jewellery giant Tiffany & Co.
The companies announced that they had entered an agreement for LVMH to acquire Tiffany for $135 a share.
“We strongly believe that LVMH is not only an ideal owner for Tiffany but also that this iconic brand is a perfect addition to our portfolio and perfect complement to our existing model,” LVMH Chief Financial Officer Jean-Jacques Guiony.
The all-cash acquisition is one of the largest ever for the French conglomerate known for its hard-charging deal making and surpasses its $13 billion deal for Christian Dior in 2017.
The storied American brand has resisted acquisition for years, but as one of the few independent global jewellery houses remaining in the market, analysts had long speculated that it would make an attractive, if expensive, target.
But Tiffany has had a difficult time lately. In the first half of 2019, worldwide net sales at Tiffany decreased 3 percent to $2.1 billion. The American jeweller is facing weak demand at home and abroad, and will likely need heavy investment to re-energise its brand and business.
The deal will bring LVMH’s substantial financial and market clout to help support Tiffany’s ongoing transformation efforts. At the same time, it boosts the French company’s presence in the US market.
The deal also allows LVMH to gain further ground on Swiss conglomerate Richemont, which has long dominated hard luxury with its ownership of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Jewellery was one of the best-performing luxury categories in 2018, according to Bain & Co, which predicts that the global $20 billion market will grow 7 percent this year.
Tiffany employs more than 5,000 artisans to cut diamonds and craft its jewellery, rather than buying from middlemen.