Luxury behemoth LVMH has confirmed that it has held “preliminary discussions” about possibly acquiring Tiffany & Co.
“There can be no assurance that these discussions will result in any agreement,” said a company statement, issued this morning.
A story in the Financial Times yesterday said that LVMH has made a $14.5 billion offer to purchase the retailer. According to the report, which quoted “people familiar with the matter,” its board is still evaluating the proposal, but it expects to reject it as it feels it undervalues the company.
The offer, made earlier this month, equaled around $120 a share, the newspaper said, a 30% premium to its then-share price of $90. Since then, Tiffany stock has risen to $130.
Tiffany could not be reached for comment at press time.
This is not the first time LVMH has reportedly been interested in Tiffany: In 2007, rumors of a possible acquisition spiked the company’s stock but came to nothing.
The acquisition would be the largest in the LVMH’s history, topping its 2017 purchase of Christian Dior for $7 billion.
LVMH already owns jewelers Fred and Bulgari, which it purchased in 2011. For 16 years it partnered with De Beers on that company’s jewelry chain. It also owns watch brands Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith.
While Tiffany has long been rumored to be a takeover target, past chief executive officers, including Michael Kowalski and Frédéric Cumenal, have generally shot down talk of an acquisition. Since 2017, the company has been headed by Alessandro Bogliolo, a former executive at Bulgari.
Founded in 1837 by Charles Tiffany in New York City, the famed retailer has had a variety of owners in its long history, including General Shoe Corp. and former chairman Walter Hoving. In 1979, Avon Products snatched up the then-publicly traded company, but that purchase proved short-lived; five years later it was sold to an investment group led by its then-chairman William Chaney. That group took the company public again in 1987.
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