Meet Your New Competitor: De Beers

The word is not in any press release. It was never uttered by executives. Spokespeople delicately dance around it. But it's been on everyone's mind ever since De Beers announced its new retail venture: Antitrust. For years, the market has feared that De Beers would open up retail stores. But there was always the assumption that the law would stand in its way. After all, antitrust rules hampered the company's first forays into "branding" and even today prevent it from doing business in the United States. And yet, in London this January, there stood Nicky Oppenheimer announcing that within the next 18 months, "De Beers" stores will open in major cities—including New York. The stores are a joint venture with Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the ritzy French conglomerate whose stable of luxury brands includes Christian Dior and Dom Perignon. They will feature not only "De Beers" diamo

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