French luxury goods company LVMH offered to buy iconic jeweller Tiffany and Co. over the weekend.
LVMH, which owns numerous luxury brands across the world, offered US$14.5 billion for the jewellery brand known for its signature blue box packaging.
Tiffany yesterday confirmed in a release that it received the unsolicited offer amounting to US$120 per share in cash, adding that the two companies are not yet in discussions regarding sale. However, it said its board of directors was “carefully reviewing the proposal, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors, to determine the course of action it believes is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders.”
Tiffany & Co. was founded in 1837 and has become synonymous with affluence, becoming the go-to provider of fine pieces for the uber-wealthy, celebrities and royalty. The company saw its cultural relevance soar with the widely regarded “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” film starring legendary actress Audrey Hepburn in 1961.
Following news of the bid, Tiffany’s shares rose more than 30 per cent in pre-market trading yesterday, prompting some to speculate whether it could mean a more profitable bid for the company’s ownership.
LVMH is the biggest luxury group in the world earning US$52 billion in revenue last year. Counted among its stable of high-end brands are Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi and popstar Rihanna’s FENTY and Fenty Beauty.
Should the takeover of the New York-based jeweller materialise, it would be the biggest acquisition for LVMH and put pressure on other players in the highly competitive luxury goods market. Already, speculation is rife that Kering, which owns Gucci, and others could now also make a play for the brand.
LVMH is owned by Frenchman Bernard Arnault whose net worth the Bloomberg Billionaires Index pegs at US$96.7 billion, making him the world’s third richest person after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.