LVMH hits at Tiffany for fast-track request
LVMH has hit back at “feverish and hasty” attempts by Tiffany to fast-track legal proceedings over its $16bn (£12bn) merger, urging a US court to reject the luxury jeweller’s request.
Tiffany filed a lawsuit against LVMH earlier this month after the French owner of brands including Louis Vuitton and Dior abandoned its takeover of the US group.
LVMH, controlled by Europe’s richest man Bernard Arnault, said it was walking away following pressure from the French government amid a threat of US tariffs being imposed on the country’s imports.
It also claimed that the impact of the pandemic and violent protests across America had changed the situation.
Tiffany has asked a court in Delaware, where the case has been filed, to expedite proceedings, as it races to push the deal through before its deadline of Nov 24.
LVMH hit back at the request, arguing there was no need to fast-track the case. “There are no objective reasons why the upcoming trial should not take place within a reasonable time frame,” it said.
“By asking the courts to rule urgently – and by communicating feverishly and hastily – Tiffany’s executives are clearly seeking to avoid having to answer, notably to their shareholders, for their bad results and mismanagement, and to see their arguments fall one after the other.”
LVMH revealed plans to buy Tiffany in November last year, a deal which would have been the largest attempted by 70-year-old Mr Arnault and given his company a significant foothold in the US luxury market.
The proposed takeover raised eyebrows among critics, who questioned whether LVMH was paying too much for Tiffany, particularly as the coronavirus
crisis began to hammer demand for luxury goods.
LVMH has claimed that the “material adverse effects” of the crisis are grounds for pulling out of the deal.
It attacked forecasts by Tiffany’s management that its fourth-quarter profits this year would come in higher than the same period a year earlier, calling the predictions “purely fanciful, even worrying”.
It added that the jeweller’s financial results would confirm the “mediocrity of management” during the crisis, accusing them of loading the company with debt.