LVMH Increases Stake in Hermès (Again)

LVMH-HermesParis—LVMH confirmed today that it has increased its stake in Hermès International to 23.1% from 22.6% in what it described as “an opportunistic move.”

“It doesn’t say anything about our attitude in the future so you cannot extrapolate that for the rest of the year,” Jean-Jacques Guiony, chief financial officer at LVMH, told analysts on a conference call.

LVMH raised its stake in Hermès in the first six months of 2013, according to LVMH’s half-year consolidated financial statement recently published. As of June 30, Hermès’s share price was 248 euro, LVMH noted.

While LVMH has previously said its stake in Hermés is strictly a “friendly investment,” the majority shareholders in Hermès, mostly descendents of the founding families, view LVMH’s stake as hostile and have sought financial and legal remedies to thwart any further share acquisitions.

LVMH began acquiring shares in Hermes in 2008 through equity derivatives. Earlier this month, the AMF, the French stock market regulator, fined LVMH 8 million euros (about $10.6 million) for failing to disclose its equity swamps. LVMH, which said it is appealing the ruling, maintains it did nothing wrong after buying equity derivatives in Hermés shares.

No doubt LVMH is pleased with its investment in Hermès which recently reported its second quarter revenue rose 16% and forecast another record year. Meanwhile, LVMH last week reported its first half sales grew 5.6%.

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com