LVMH has sealed a deal to buy Tiffany & Co for $16.2 billion (£12.6 billion), after weeks of back and forth negotiations that sent the industry rumour mill into overdrive. The French conglomerate initially bid $120 (£93) per share for the American jeweller, and finally settled on $135 (£104). The business move strengthens the French luxury group’s position in the jewellery sector, and indeed the fashion industry as a whole.
What does Tiffany & Co gain by joining forces with the powerhouse? A holding hand to guide it through the rapidly expanding digital sphere. The household-name brand – which was founded in 1837 and is known for its signature duck egg-blue boxes – already has an invaluable heritage, but needs assistance navigating the tech space and connecting with a younger audience. “Tiffany will reach new heights, capitalising on its remarkable internal expertise, unparalleled craftsmanship and strong cultural values,” said Alessandro Bogliolo, chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co, of the union.
Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman and chief executive officer, pledged that the parent company would “develop this jewel with the same dedication and commitment that we have applied to each and every one of our maisons”. LVMH currently owns Bulgari, Tag Heuer and Hublot in its hard luxury (watches and jewellery) portfolio, but Tiffany & Co is the largest acquisition Arnault has made during his 32-year tenure. The ambitious deal aligns the holding company with the likes of Richemont, a key competitor in the personal luxury goods market.
How LVMH will evolve the storied jeweller’s reputation from its perfectly-packaged Breakfast at Tiffany’s heyday will prove interesting to watch. As Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly character mused in the 1961 film, which bolstered the house’s mainstream status, “Nothing very bad could happen to you” at the Manhattan flagship. It’s now Arnault’s job to make sure customers keep visiting the other 300-plus stores, too.