LVMH’s backflip on £12bn Tiffany & Co merger to go to trial in January

Tiffany & Co LVMH acquisition
The timing of the trial has become central to the fate of the disputed deal
// LVMH and Tiffany & Co court battle to commence in January
// LVMH exited the £12 billion merger deal despite plans last year
// A US court ruled on Monday to expedite the case that Tiffany & Co brought against LVMH

Louis Vuitton owner LVMH’s decision to ditch the $16.6 billion (£12 billion) Tiffany & Co merger will reportedly go to trial in January.

This comes after the US jeweller warned LVMH that a longer timeline could force it to accept a lower price or lose the deal.

In a successful attempt for Tiffany & Co to fast-track legal proceedings in the US after the French luxury group backflipped on its decision, a US court ruled to expedite the case that the jeweller has brought against LVMH, Financial Times reported.


Judge Joseph Slights, who is presiding over the case in Delaware, rejected LVMH’s arguments that the case was too complex to expedite, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Setting a four-day trial at the start of January, the judge said he was “not persuaded” by LVMH’s argument to “slow track” the legal fight.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Tiffany & Co argued in court that a protracted process could force it to rip up the existing terms of the deal, to the benefit of LVMH.

Lawyer Richard Pepperman said the jewellery retailer was operating under several restrictions imposed by the terms of the deal, including curbs on capital expenditure, which would have a “massively disruptive effect” on Tiffany & Co’s business if LVMH is successful in delaying closing.

The merger would have brought Tiffany & Co under the same roof as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Sephora, all led by Bernard Arnault.

Tiffany took legal action against its French suitor this month, hours after LVMH said the takeover was no longer possible.

LVMH cited “recent developments” including a request from France’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to delay past the deal’s closing deadline.

The jeweller accused LVMH of deliberately delaying necessary regulatory processes in key markets, that would have allowed it to close the deal before the deadline.

Last week, LVMH attempted to block a petition launched by Tiffany & Co, seeking to fast-track legal proceedings in the US.

Meanwhile, Pepperman argued that LVMH was trying to put Tiffany’s board under “overwhelming pressure” to agree to a price reduction.

LVMH still has the decision to walk from the deal after November 24 but that can be overturned by the court during the trial.

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