LVMH’s Berluti acquires artisan shoemaker Delos Bottier & Cie, as Bernard Arnault makes headlines with an intricate network of holding companies in Belgium

It’s been a big news week for LVMH founder and chairman Bernard Arnault, followin the news that France’s richest man has applied for Belgian citizenship, seemingly to avoid proposed Socialist wealth taxes.

As the news broke, French newspaper Liberation ran the headline “Casse-toi riche con,” inviting Mr. Arnault to ‘get lost’ in no uncertain terms. Mr Arnault counter announced that will sue the paper for “public insult”, over the offending headline’s “vulgarity and brutality.”

Legal skirmishes aside, Mr. Arnault’s application for citizenship has fueled a media enquiry as to why becoming Belgian could be so lucrative for the billionaire. In the process, various sources have uncovered companies linked to LVMH, which have amassed €4 billion in assets in Belgium.


 Companies linked to LVMH, have amassed €4 billion in assets in Belgium 


The LVMH investment companies, first disclosed last week by the Workers Party of Belgium, reported €630.4 million euros in profits since 2009, but used deductions to reduce their tax bill to only €24.2 million.

David Pestieau, head of the Workers Party research department – who has analysed the companies’ annual reports – described the network as “nothing more than a post office box” that allows LVMH to evade French taxes.

The scandal will no doubt continue to rule headlines, as the press patiently awaits news of the citizenship application process and more is understood about Arnault’s Belgian operations.


Acquired: Anthony Delos, Berluti

Berluti has completed the purchase of artisan shoemaker Delos Bottier & Cie, whose workshops are located in Rosiers-sur-Loire near Angers, France. Although Berluti has not yet formalised the acquisition or skills transfer, Anthony Delos commenced his role as shoemaker for Berluti on September 3, 2012.

Source: FashionMag


Speculation: Tory Burch, Carlyle Group

The Carlyle Group is said to be one private equity firm interested in acquiring a controlling stake in Tory Burch. The current sale process of the eponymous New York fashion house, being run by Barclays, was first reported in August 2011, though the company itself is reportedly saying it has no interest in ceding control.

Source: WWD


Delayed: Coty, IPO

Coty Inc has pushed the date of its $700 million initial public offering to the first half of 2013, in response to Europe’s debt crisis and a weak U.S. economic recovery. The decision to delay the IPO comes a little over a month after the company selected Michele Scannavini as its chief executive.

Source: Reuters


Stake: Anya Hindmarch, Private Equity

An unnamed private Qatari investor group has acquired a minority stake in accessories brand Anya Hindmarch, which valued the business at £70 million. The investors purchased the minority stake owned by long-time shareholders Kelso Place Asset Management LLP, where Ms. Hindmarch remains the controlling shareholder.

Source: WWD


Speculation: De Tomaso

The courts are trying to find a buyer for bankrupt Italian sports car manufacturer De Tomaso. Whilst many companies are said to have expressed interest, no deal has been finalised. BMW was said to be in dialogue with the ailing Italian automaker, a rumour they have since denied.

Source: Motor Authority


Acquired: Bruichladdich, Remy Cointreau

Rémy Cointreau UK Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Rémy Cointreau Group, has agreed to acquire Bruichladdich Distillery Company Limited, the Islay single malt Scotch whisky distiller. It marks the group’s first move into the premium single malt Scotch whisky market.

Source: Bruichladdich


Speculation: BHP, Harry Winston

BHP Billiton is in protracted talks with Harry Winston, the Canadian mining and retail group, about a sale of its diamond business. Harry Winston is said to have secured bank financing for a possible deal, and is continuing negotiations with BHP to buy the Ekati mine in Canada.

Source: Financial Times


Buying: Angela Ahrendts, Burberry

Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts was one of eight members of the company’s board of directors to increase their stakes after a record plunge in the shares. Ms. Ahrendts acquired 50,000 shares for approximately £543,000. In total, the Burberry directors spent about £1.1 million buying stock.

Source: Bloomberg


Speculation: Paris Gallery, IPO

Dubai based group Paris Gallery, boasting a network of over 40 luxury goods stores across the Middle East, has confirmed interest in a future initial public offering. CEO Mohammed Al-Fahim told Reuters: “One of the rationales (of an IPO) would be the continuity of the company. An IPO is a sort of safety net for us to make us more transparent, more structured and more accountable.”

Source: Reuters


Finalised: Saab, NEVS

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has finalised its acquisition of Swedish automaker Saab, as well as the assets of subsidiary firms Saab Powertrain and Saab Tools. Though the acquisition doe not include use of the famous griffin logo, NEVS will be able to use the Saab name on its future products.

Source: Motor Authority


Speculation: L Capital Asia, India

Investment fund L Capital Asia is said to be negotiating with two Indian designers, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Rohit Bal, looking to launch a joint venture. The Indian press went so far as to mention a desire to create an Indian LVMH and were able to confirm that it is now a minority shareholder in luxury brand distribution company Genesis.

Source: FashionMag


Selling: Leonardo Del Vecchio, Luxottica

Luxottica Group founder, billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio, sold a 3.8 percent stake in the world’s largest maker of eyeglasses, in an offer aimed at boosting trading liquidity. 18 million shares were traded at €27 each, 8.2 percent below the previous day’s closing price,

Source: Businessweek


Speculation: Theo Fennel, Takeover

Luxury jewellery designer Theo Fennell has confirmed it is in preliminary takeover talks with EME Capital LLP, but said there could be no certainty that a formal offer would be made for the company. The seller of jewellery, watches, silver objects, and gifts, is currently valued by the market at £2.72 million, but has been reporting losses since 2009.

Source: Reuters



For more in the series of The Latest Investments, please see our most recent editions as follows:

- The Latest Investments: Coty, Porsche & Valentino
- The Latest Investments: Arnys, Graff & Vionnet
- The Latest Investments: Acquascutum, Ducati & Vertu


About the author

Sophie Doran

Creative Strategist, Digital

Sophie Doran is currently Senior Creative Strategist, Digital at Karla Otto. Prior to this role, she was the Paris-based editor-in-chief of Luxury Society.

Prior to joining Luxury Society, Sophie completed her MBA in Melbourne, Australia, with a focus on luxury brand dynamics and leadership, whilst simultaneously working in management roles for several luxury retailers.

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