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FRANCE: Hermès 'family' shareholders look to block LVMH takeover

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The founding family shareholders of Hermès have set up a holding company, as they look to block any possible takeover bid from LVMH.

The move, which is subject to the approval of France's financial markets regulator, the AMF, follows news in October that LVMH had increased its stake in Hermès to 17.1%. The purchase sparked speculation once again that LVMH was considering selling its Moet Hennessy drinks unit, to fund a full takeover of Hermès. Diageo would be the only contender to snap up the subsidiary, as it already owns 34% of Moet Hennessy.

LVMH has gone on record as saying it does not plan to sell Moet Hennessy in the immediate future.

The Hermès family has so far indicated that its total shareholding of 73.4% in the company's capital is not for sale. However, with the holding being shared by around 60 descendants of founder Thierry Hermes, there remains a risk that such unity could be put under pressure in the light of an attractive offer from LVMH.

The AMF has opened an investigation into how LVMH obtained its stake its holding in Hermes. The luxury goods giant claims that it has done so lawfully.


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