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TIMELINE: Inside the Tiffany & Co. and LVMH merger

Updated: 26 Dec '21 – When the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, French-owned Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH), submitted an unsolicited bid to acquire iconic US jeweller Tiffany & Co. last October, many industry commentators expressed shock – even more so when LVMH’s $US16.2 billion offer was accepted the following month. 

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Tiffany & Co. had remained proudly independent for more than 130 years, with its signature blue boxes and indelible New York identity at the core of its strength as an international brand.

How, some asked, could such a company fall into French hands?

Yet the prospect of joining such illustrious brands as Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Dom Perignon champagne under the LVMH umbrella – sheltered from the fell winds of an unstable global economy – proved irresistible, particularly with former LVMH executives on the Tiffany board and management team.

The deal was particularly sweet for Tiffany’s shareholders; mere rumours of an LVMH acquisition caused its share price to spike 32 per cent.

And for LVMH, the record-breaking deal presented an opportunity to double the revenue of its smallest division – watches and jewellery – with a brand aligned with its values of heritage, tradition, and luxury craftsmanship.

Yet the COVID-19 crisis proved to be a thorn in the side of both companies, and the deal was left in tatters amid claims of financial mismanagement and underhanded tactics.

With the two juggernauts headed for the courtroom, it seemed all hope was lost; yet just six weeks later, with identical statements, LVMH and Tiffany & Co. announced that they'd called off the lawsuit and reached a new deal.

Here, Jeweller explores how the most expensive luxury merger in recent history came back from the brink.


TIFFANY & CO and LVMH Merger Timeline

20172 OCT

Alessandro Bogliolo appointed CEO of Tiffany & Co.

Italian executive Alessandro Bogliolo is named the new CEO of Tiffany & Co., replacing Michael Kowalski. Bogliolo previously held roles at LVMH-controlled Sephora and Bulgari.

Bogliolo’s appointment comes seven months after former Bulgari CEO Francesco Trapani joined the Tiffany & Co. board. Trapani – a member of the Bulgari family – oversaw the sale of that business to LVMH in March 2011.

201929 JAN 

LVMH reports €46.8 billion revenue for 2018

In its 2018 Annual Report, LVMH states its 2018 revenue is €46.8 billion, an increase of 10 per cent compared with 2017, while profits have increased 21 per cent.

However, watches and jewellery – comprised of Bulgari, Chaumet, Fred, TAG Heuer, Hublot, Zenith and Dior Montres – remains its smallest division, responsible for 9 per cent of total revenue.

Additionally, less than 10 per cent of watches and jewellery revenue is from the US market, compared with 23 per cent from Europe (excluding France) and 35 per cent from Asia (excluding Japan).

Tiffany & Co. reports weaker sales for the second quarter

Three weeks after confirming its intention to expand into India, Tiffany & Co. releases its financial results for the first half of 2019. The report indicates that revenue has declined 3 per cent, to $US2.1 billion, while sales have fallen 4 per cent.
 15 OCT 

LVMH submits $US14.5 billion bid to acquire Tiffany & Co.

Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) submits an unsolicited takeover offer to the Tiffany & Co. board, valuing the US company at $US120 per share. Tiffany & Co. confirms it has received the offer on 28 October, and its share price jumps 32 per cent.

» LVMH confirms plans to buy Tiffany & Co. Jeweller

 4 NOV

Tiffany & Co. reportedly rejects the LVMH offer

Media reports, quoting sources close to the negotiation, indicate that the Tiffany & Co. board has rejected the $US14.5 billion offer as too low, yet is ‘receptive’ to a higher bid. Analysts speculate a new offer will value the company at $US130 per share.

» Tiffany & Co. leaves door open to LVMH takeover Jeweller




LVMH submits a higher bid: report

US financial publication Bloomberg reports that LVMH has submitted a revised offer of $US15.7 billion, though representatives for LVMH and Tiffany & Co. decline to comment. The Tiffany & Co. share price rises 3.6 per cent.

» Tiffany & Co. likely to approve new $US16 billion LVMH offer Jeweller

 25 NOV

Tiffany & Co. board accepts new takeover bid

The Tiffany & Co. board accepts LVMH’s offer, which values the company at $US135 per share, calling it “an exciting path forward”. The acquisition is valued at $US16.2 billion – the largest in LVMH’s history, eclipsing its $US13.1 billion acquisition of luxury fashion house Christian Dior in 2017.

The acquisition of Tiffany & Co. will more than double LVMH’s revenue in the watches and jewellery category.

» LVMH acquires Tiffany & Co. for $US16.2 billion Jeweller



Tiffany & Co. shareholders approve acquisition

The offer of $US135 per share in cash is accepted by Tiffany & Co. shareholders. Bernard Arnault, CEO LVMH, says, “We look forward to welcoming Tiffany into the LVMH family and helping the brand reach new heights as an LVMH Maison.”

The deal is expected to be completed by July 2020, pending international regulatory approval.


Tiffany & Co. closes US stores

Due to the spread of COVID-19, Tiffany & Co. temporarily shutters all 124 of its US and Canadian stores. The decision represents a significant blow to the company’s revenue for the first quarter of 2020 as the US accounts for approximately 43 per cent of total sales.



Full-year financial report released by Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. reports that its revenue for fiscal 2019 declined 8 per cent, from $US541 million to $US586 million, while sales remained unchanged at $US4.4 billion. However, sales increased 3 per cent in the last three months of the year,

Alessandro Bogliolo, CEO Tiffany & Co., said, “We look back on fiscal 2019 as a year of progress on all of our strategic initiatives. We attribute the acceleration in the fourth quarter across most of our markets to our focus on elevating our sales mix towards higher value items within each jewellery product category, with the largest growth being in our gold and gold-and-diamond offerings.”

 7 APR 

Australian regulators request extended deadline to approve takeover

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Tiffany & Co. provided updates on the regulatory approval status of the acquisition in several international markets. An application was submitted to Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) on 5 March and was initially expected to be approved by 6 April; however, FIRB had extended the original deadline for approval by six months.

The new deadline effectively delayed the estimated completion of the LVMH takeover from July to October 2020.

The SEC filing noted, “As a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Australian Treasurer has announced that FIRB is experiencing delays in processing transactions and, in keeping with the Australian Government’s publicly announced policy of seeking six-month extensions on business applications, FIRB requested to extend its statutory review deadline of April 8 2020 until October 6 2020, which request LVMH has accepted.

“However, it is possible for the Treasurer or his delegate to approve the transaction in advance of that deadline. The parties are cooperating closely with FIRB with a view to obtaining approval as soon as possible.”

» Australian regulators stall LVMH acquisition of TIffany & Co Jeweller


Stores remain closed amid COVID-19 crisis

Of Tiffany & Co.’s 324 international stores, 70 per cent remain closed as at 30 April due to the spread of the coronavirus, including all of its US and Canadian stores, 85 per cent of European stores, and 95 per cent of Japanese stores.


Majority of Tiffany & Co. stores reopen

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to abate, 80 per cent of Tiffany & Co. international stores are fully or partially opened, including 70 per cent of those located in the US and Canada and 65 per cent in Europe; 90 per cent of stores in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region have also reopened.

However, two days later, all US locations are closed due to widespread protests. As at 8 June, just over half of US stores are open or partially open.

 1 JUN

Tiffany & Co. holds shareholder meeting; avoids discussion of COVID-19

Tiffany & Co. conducts its annual shareholder meeting digitally. Notably, the impact of COVID-19 and the social unrest in the US are not discussed.

US fashion industry publication Women’s Wear Daily reports, “The luxury jeweller didn’t mention any specific challenges surrounding the coronavirus, the $16.2 billion deal to become part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton or the clashes filling the streets of America. Instead, the talk was surrounding the 10 board members up for reelection, the company’s choice of accounting firms and executive compensations – all approved.”

» Tiffany Annual Shareholder Meeting Avoids Talk of COVID-19 or Unrest Women’s Wear Daily
 2 JUN

LVMH holds board meeting to discuss Tiffany acquisition strategy

Women’s Wear Daily reports that LVMH board members meet in Paris to discuss the Tiffany takeover and the impact of COVID-19 on the jewellery brand’s sales volumes and ability to satisfy debts.

LVMH later confirms that the meeting did take place, and that the company will not purchase Tiffany & Co. shares on the open market, as some had speculated.

» Press release LVMH




LVMH CEO mulling renegotiation: report

Following the LVMH executive meeting, media speculation intensifies that LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault may seek to renegotiate the Tiffany & Co. deal.

A report published by Reuters quotes unnamed sources close to the companies as saying, “Arnault has been in talks with his advisers this week to identify ways to pressure Tiffany to lower the agreed price of $135 per share in cash... He is considering whether he can argue that the New York-based company is in breach of its obligations under the merger agreement.”

The report states that while LVMH has not asked Tiffany & Co. to reopen negotiations, “it is not clear whether it will do so”.

The Tiffany & Co. share price falls 9 per cent as a result.

» LVMH refrains from renegotiating Tiffany deal, sources say Reuters

 9 JUN

Tiffany & Co. sales decline 45 per cent

In its quarterly report, Tiffany & Co. management confirms sales have fallen 45 per cent due to the impact of COVID-19, including an 85 per cent fall in Mainland China in February.

In Tiffany & Co.’s largest market – the Americas – sales declined 45 per cent for the quarter.

However, CEO Alessandro Boglioglo remained optimistic: “First, while sales in key markets like the United States and Japan were down significantly during the first quarter, our business performance in mainland China, which was the first market impacted by the virus, is indicative that a robust recovery is underway,” he said, pointing to a promising 30 per cent increase in April sales compared with the same period in 2019.

Bogliolo added, “The character and strength of Tiffany & Co. have been tested many times over the past 183 years and, because of its exceptionally talented and devoted employees, the Company has always been able to persevere and succeed.”
 30 JUN 

LVMH holds annual general meeting; reaffirms takeover intentions

During the LVMH annual general meeting, held at its headquarters in Paris and livecast online, group managing director Antonio Belloni reiterates the company’s commitment to complete the Tiffany & Co. deal.

“We believe that Tiffany is one of the most iconic jewellery brands. As such, it fully has its place in the LVMH portfolio,” he says.

LVMH itself records a 15 per cent decline in sales for the first quarter of 2020. CEO Bernard Arnault reassures investors, saying, “One can only hope for a gradual recovery during the second half of the year, and the signs of recovery in June in a number of our activities are fairly robust.”

» LVMH reiterates commitment to Tiffany & Co. takeover as revenues decline Jeweller

Australian regulators approve takeover

Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) indicates it has no objection to the merger, three months ahead of its proposed deadline of 6 October; Tiffany & Co. informs the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) of the approval in a filing dated 6 July. However, the company indicates that, "The [acquisition] remains subject to receiving additional regulatory clearances and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions."
 24 AUG

Tiffany & Co. exercises option to delay acquisition: report

With some international regulatory approval, including from the European Union, still pending, the scheduled deadline for the completion of the deal – 24 August – is missed.

Quoting an unnamed source close to the negotiation, Reuters reports that Tiffany & Co. has exercised an option to delay the final deadline to 24 November, which is the maximum time permitted under the terms of the deal.

» LVMH and Tiffany push back deal deadline by three months: source  Reuters

 31 AUG

French Foreign Minister requests LVMH delay deal to 2021

LVMH claims it received a letter from Jean-Yves Le Drian, French European and Foreign Affairs Minister, requesting that it delay the final closing date of the Tiffany deal until after 6 January 2021 in order to “dissuade” US authorities from imposing further import duties on French luxury goods.

LVMH later provides an English translation of the letter to Tiffany & Co., but does not supply a copy of the original. 

 9 SEP

LVMH withdraws from the acquisition

In a press release, LVMH management reveals its Board has met to discuss"a succession of events which undermine the acquisition of Tiffany & Co.", including the Le Drian letter and a previously unreported request by Tiffany & Co. to extend the final deal deadline to 31 December 2020.

"As a result of these elements, and knowledge of the first legal analysis led by the advisors and the LVMH teams, the Board decided to comply with the Merger Agreement signed in November 2019 which provides, in any event for a closing deadline no later than November 24, 2020 and officially records that, as it stands, the Group LVMH will therefore not be able to complete the acquisition of Tiffany & Co.," the statement concludes.

» Official LVMH Press Release Statement


Tiffany & Co. files suit against LVMH for breaching the Merger Agreement

Tiffany & Co. announces it has commenced legal action against LVMH in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, which "seeks, among other things, an order requiring LVMH to abide by its contractual obligation under the Merger Agreement to complete the transaction on the agreed terms".

The company claims LVMH failed to honour its obligations, including filing international regulatory clearances. It also refutes assertions that it has breached the Merger Agreement and that the Le Drian letter is a valid reason for LVMH to withdraw. 

Roger N Farah, chairman Tiffany & Co., says, “We regret having to take this action but LVMH has left us no choice but to commence litigation to protect our company and our shareholders. Tiffany is confident it has complied with all of its obligations under the Merger Agreement and is committed to completing the transaction on the terms agreed to last year. Tiffany expects the same of LVMH.”

Farah also accuses LVMH of having "unclean hands". 

» Tiffany Files Lawsuit Against LVMH To Enforce Merger Agreement, Official Tiffany & Co. Press Release

» LVMH and Tiffany & Co. deal collapses; court battle looms Jeweller

 10 SEP

LVMH announces intention to mount 'vigorous' legal defence

In a statement released on its website, LVMH management expresses "surprise"  at Tiffany & Co.'s legal filing in the US, calling it "totally unfounded" and "communicated in a misleading way to shareholders and... defamatory".

"The long preparation of this assignment demonstrates the dishonesty of Tiffany in its relations with LVMH. This action is essentially based on the accusation by Tiffany that LVMH failed to take the reasonably necessary steps to obtain the various regulatory authorities’ approvals in a timely way. This accusation has no substance and LVMH will demonstrate this to the Delaware Court," the statement said. 

Addressing Tiffany & Co.'s financial performance, the LVMH statement confirmed that it intends to "challenge the handling of the [COVID-19] crisis by Tiffany's management and its Board of Directors", adding, "The first half results and [Tiffany & Co.'s] perspectives for 2020 are very disappointing, and significantly inferior to those of comparable brands of the LVMH Group during this period."

» Official LVMH Press Statement

 18 SEP

LVMH submits acquisition deal for approval by European authorities

In a statement, LVMH confirms it has submitted the proposed acquisition of Tiffany & Co. for antitrust review by the European Commission. The group's failure to obtain necessary international regulatory clearances was noted in Tiffany & Co.'s legal filing. 

The statement adds, "Eight of the 10 requisite antitrust clearances have already been obtained. LVMH expects to receive approval from the European Commission and Taiwan well before the November 24, 2020 Outside Date."

» LVMH confirms it has submitted Tiffany transaction for approval by the European Commission LVMH statement

 21 SEP

US court sets trial date for January 2021

Joseph Slights III, Vice-Chancellor of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, who is presiding over the Tiffany & Co. lawsuit against LVMH, sets a four-day trial beginning 5 January 2021.

While LVMH opposed an expedited trial date, Tiffany & Co. requested the case be heard prior to the expiry of several international regulatory clearances on 3 February 2021.

However, both parties later release statements in support of the January trial. 

» Tiffany suit over cancelled LVMH buyout put on fast track Bloomberg

 28 SEP

LVMH files countersuit against Tiffany & Co. in US court 

In a statement, LVMH announces it has filed a countersuit against Tiffany & Co. in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a "devastating and lasting" impact on the jewellery company and that Tiffany & Co. failed to include a "pandemic or epidemic carveout" clause in the original Merger Agreement, which would have excluded the COVID-19 downturn from being considered a Material Adverse Effect.  

The filing also asserts: "Tiffany’s mismanagement of its business constitutes a blatant breach of its obligation to operate in the ordinary course," adding that it was "burning cash", "slashing capital and marketing investments" and "taking on additional debt" while improperly paying dividends to shareholders.

LVMH reiterated that the letter from the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs prevented it from closing the deal, adding that that it had "fully met its obligations under the Merger Agreement" and that final regulatory clearances from the European Union and Taiwan would be secured before the outside closing date. 

The statement added: "LVMH continues to have full confidence in its position that the conditions necessary to close the acquisition of Tiffany have not been met and that the spurious arguments put forward by Tiffany are completely unfounded."

» LVMH files countersuit against Tiffany: The conditions to close the acquisition are not met LVMH statement

 29 SEP

Tiffany & Co. responds to LVMH countersuit

In a statement released on its website, Tiffany & Co. management calls LVMH's counterclaims "baseless and misleading".

The jewellery company reiterated that the assertion of Material Adverse Effect due to COVID-19 has "no factual, contractual or legal support". It also refuted claims that it had mismanaged the crisis, stating that store closures were "entirely consistent with its legal obligations" and done to protect the safety of employees and customers.

In addition, the company said the claims of taking on debt were "misleading" and that it "has never missed or reduced a dividend payment" since 1987, including after the September 11 terrorist attacks and during the Global Financial Crisis. 

Alessandro Bogliolo, CEO Tiffany & Co. and a former LVMH executive, said, “I am so proud of how Tiffany has gone above and beyond during the pandemic to deliver our brand mission and keep delighting our customers, even in the most uncertain of times. I want to thank the entire Tiffany team for their continued professionalism and dedication in the face of baseless accusations and misinformation.”

» Tiffany Responds to Baseless and Misleading Counterclaims Filed by LVMH Tiffany & Co. statement

 26 OCT

European Union clears LVMH acquisition of Tiffany & Co.

In a filing to the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Tiffany & Co. confirms the European Union has approved the takeover deal, adding, "All regulatory approvals required for the completion of the Merger have now been obtained."

 27 OCT

LVMH and Tiffany & Co. discussing new merger terms: report

Quoting sources close to the negotiation, US business publication CNBC reports that the two parties are in "fluid" talks to revise the terms of the merger, lowering the overall value of the deal from $US135 per share to $130–133 per share.

The report claimed both Tiffany & Co. and LVMH were "looking to get a deal done as soon as possible" and that there "had been a discussion of a tender offer, but that is unlikely at this point".

» Tiffany, LVMH are in talks to reduce the value of their deal and settle dispute, sources say CNBC

 29 OCT

Tiffany & Co. board accepts new LVMH offer: report

Citing sources close to the negotiation, business publication Financial Times reports that Tiffany & Co.'s board of directors accepted a new revised offer from LVMH of $US131.50 per share during an overnight meeting on Wednesday 28 October.

The new offer represents a reduction of $US425 million from the original $US16.2 billion purchase price. However, it still represents LVMH's most expensive acquisition in its history. 

The fresh deal is still subject to approval by Tiffany shareholders and is unlikely to be finalised before the original closing date of 24 November 2020.

» Tiffany board approves sale to LVMH at lower price Financial Times


New Merger Agreement confirmed, lawsuit dropped

With identical statements, LVMH and Tiffany & Co. confirm a new deal has been struck. The Merger Agreement is to be revised with a lower purchase price of $US131.50 per share and new closing conditions. 

Roger N Farah, chairman of the board of directors, Tiffany & Co., says, “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with LVMH at an attractive price and to now be able to proceed with the merger. The board concluded it was in the best interests of all of our stakeholders to achieve certainty of closing.”

Bernard Arnault, president and CEO LVMH, added, “This balanced agreement with Tiffany’s board allows LVMH to work on the Tiffany acquisition with confidence and resume discussions with Tiffany’s management on the integration details. We are as convinced as ever of the formidable potential of the Tiffany brand and believe that LVMH is the right home for Tiffany and its employees during this exciting next chapter.”

» Tiffany & Co. and LVMH revive deal, drop court case, Jeweller
» Tiffany & Co. statement
» LVMH statement

 30 DEC

Tiffany & Co. shareholders approve new deal

During an extraordinary meeting conducted digitally on 30 December 2020, more than 99 per cent of Tiffany & Co. shareholders approve LVMH's new offer of $US131.50 and the terms of the revised merger agreement.

In a short statement published on its website, LVMH confirms the deal is expected to be completed on 7 January 2021.

» LVMH statement

20217 JAN

LVMH completes acquisition of Tiffany & Co, announces new CEO and executives

In a statement on its website, LVMH confirms the successful completion of its $US15.8 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co. as well as a new corporate leadership team: Anthony Ledru, former executive vice-president of global commercial activities at Louis Vuitton, will replace Alessandro Bogliolo as CEO, while Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Michael Burke will join the Tiffany board as its new chairman. 

Alexandre Arnault, son of LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, will leave his role as CEO of luxury luggage manufacturer Rimowa – also part of LVMH – to become Tiffany & Co.'s executive vice-president of product and communication. Arnault's new position largely replaces the role of Daniella Vitale, who will leave Tiffany a little over a year after being named as its executive vice-president and chief brand officer. 

Reed Krakoff, Tiffany & Co.'s chief artistic officer – responsible for directing the design of Tiffany's jewellery and accessories collections – is also confirmed as leaving the company after nearly four years in the role. No replacement is announced.

In the LVMH statement, Bernard Arnault says, "We are optimistic about Tiffany’s ability to accelerate its growth, innovate and remain at the forefront of our discerning customers’ most cherished life achievements and memories. I would like to thank Alessandro Bogliolo and his team for their dedication to Tiffany and their work over the past three years, especially during this challenging period.”

» LVMH statement
» LVMH names new executive team for Tiffany & Co, Jeweller


 26 DEC

Tiffany & Co. problems continue; French-US rivalry causes confusion

When French luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) acquired Tiffany & Co. in January, LVMH management immediately signalled that big changes were afoot, whether customers liked them or not.

» Analysis: Tiffany & Co. problems continue; French-US rivalry causes confusion Jeweller

Jeweller's timelines are compiled through comprehensive research drawn from respected publications.
They serve as a record of significant events within the watch and jewellery industry. 


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