// LVMH aims to block Tiffany & Co petition seeking to fast-track legal proceedings
// The lawsuit from Tiffany & Co comes after LVMH exited the proposed £12 billion merger
Louis Vuitton owner LVMH is seeking to block a petition launched by US jeweller Tiffany & Co, attempting to fast-track legal proceedings in the US after LVMH backflipped on their proposed $16 billion (£12 billion) merger.
The French luxury group had agreed upon the merger last year, but called off plans last week and cited “recent developments” including a request from France’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to delay past the deal’s closing deadline.
The jeweller has accused LVMH of deliberately delaying necessary regulatory processes in key markets, that would have allowed it to close the deal before the deadline.
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Tiffany & Co has since lodged a request to a court in Delaware, US, to expedite the court case over the proposed merger.
This will allow for a decision to be made before the November 24 termination date in the deal.
A hearing on the fast-track request has been set for September 21.
LVMH has responded by calling the move “feverish and hasty” and said there was no need to fast-track the case.
“There are no objective reasons why the upcoming trial should not take place within a normal timeframe,” LVMH 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.
“Given the legal and financial issues at stake – in the context of a pandemic that obviously weighs on the ability of a European group to organise its defense in the US – it seems to LVMH that sound justice requires that a reasonable time be granted to rule on the matter.”
Tiffany & Co chairman Roger Farah said: “LVMH’s opposition to our motion to expedite is the latest attempt to run out the clock to avoid fulfilling its obligations under the merger agreement.
“If LVMH were confident in its legal position, it would have no reason to oppose an expedited trial schedule.”