Tiffany, LVMH agree to end bitter legal battle in new merger deal
Tiffany & Co. and LVMH are heading back to the altar.
The ritzy retailers said they will end their bitter legal battle as they announced a revised merger deal announced Thursday — less than two months after LVMH moved to cancel the blockbuster wedding.
The companies said they’ve agreed to settle their dueling lawsuits in Delaware Chancery Court that were filed after the Louis Vuitton owner sought to scrap the tie-up last month. They also confirmed that LVMH will now pay $131.50 a share for the storied New York jeweler instead of the original $135 price, as reports indicated Wednesday.
“We are as convinced as ever of the formidable potential of the Tiffany brand and believe that LVMH is the right home for Tiffany and its employees during this exciting next chapter,” Bernard Arnault, the French luxury conglomerate’s billionaire CEO, said in a statement.
The revised deal — now worth about $15.9 billion based on Tiffany’s number of outstanding shares — is expected to close early next year if the blue-box jeweler’s shareholders approve it. The deal has already received regulatory clearance, and both companies’ boards have approved the terms, according to a news release.
The agreement marked an end to a dramatic saga that began when LVMH said it was walking away from the deal in early September, claiming the French government had told it not to proceed in response to the US’s threat to impose tariffs on French goods.
Tiffany sued to keep the deal intact, accusing LVMH of dragging its feet on seeking approval for the acquisition, while Paris-based luxury titan shot back that Tiffany’s business prospects had turned “dismal” due to the coronavirus crisis.
The two companies’ Delaware court battle was slated to go to trial in January had they not agreed to drop the dispute.
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with LVMH at an attractive price and to now be able to proceed with the merger,” Roger Farah, chairman of Tiffany’s board, said in a statement. “The board concluded it was in the best interests of all of our stakeholders to achieve certainty of closing.”
Tiffany shares were up 0.6 percent at $130.70 in premarket trading Thursday as of 7:31 a.m., while LVMH’s Paris-listed shares were recently up 0.1 percent at 402.80 euros ($471.73).
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