Breakfast (and dinner) at Tiffany’s

Breakfast (and dinner) at Tiffany’s

Luxury goods giant LVMH is eyeing a $14.5b takeover of the brand.

The French luxury group behind brands like Louis Vuitton and Givenchy submitted a takeover proposal to Tiffany’s, the NYC-based jeweler earlier this month, per multiple reports. If true, it would be LVMH’s biggest-ever acquisition.

LVMH, owned by France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, and comprising brands including Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Bulgari, is a $215 billion luxury powerhouse with a stake in everything from fashion to alcoholic beverages and hotels. Jewelry has been one of the fastest growth spots in the luxury sector.

Despite the trade war and turmoil in Hong Kong (which accounts for 6% of sales), things are as smooth as a Dom Pérignon Vintage 1961: LVMH reported a surprise 11% sales bump in Q3.

There’s always room for improvement, however. Watches and jewelry are its slowest growing segment, and LVMH wants to boost its presence in the US, its second-largest market.

So, about this $12B US jeweler. Of late, Tiffany has been feeling less robin egg, more stormy blue.

It has struggled to stay ahead of consumer trends, while tariffs with China and the Hong Kong protests have also taken a bite.

As part of its push for a bigger share of the US market, LVMH has opened a factory in south Texas, which was officially inaugurated this month in a ceremony attended by Mr Arnault and US President Donald Trump.

Tiffany’s flagship New York store is next to Trump Tower on 5th Avenue. Founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany, the company’s fame was sealed after the release of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, staring Audrey Hepburn and loosely based on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name.

Meanwhile, benefitting from a lower sales tax at home, Chinese customers are curbing their spending abroad, and Tiffany’s is responding with more stores on mainland China.

LVMH rival Kering has been looking to expand in the jewelry sector too, and has launched high-end jewelry lines for its fashion brand Gucci.

Switzerland’s Richemont, a sector leader with labels such as Cartier, has also been adding to its portfolio, and recently acquired Italy’s Buccellati.


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Oso Oseguera
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