July 20, 2024

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LVMH’s Bernard Arnault emerges as personal stakeholder in Richemont

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Bernard Arnault, the billionaire founder of luxury goods group LVMH, has bought shares in Richemont, the rival Swiss-based conglomerate behind high-end jeweller Cartier.

The stake is too small to be disclosed in public registers and is a personal investment by Arnault, one of the world’s richest men, two people familiar with the matter said. It is a holding among many other stocks owned by the family and does not signal any particular move on Richemont, they added.

LVMH and Richemont declined to comment.

The investment could nevertheless revive speculation about possible takeover scenarios among big luxury groups, especially as Richemont, controlled by 74-year-old South African billionaire Johann Rupert, is gearing up for a succession challenge.

Cartier has long been one of the most attractive Richemont assets, one of a rarefied circle of very top brands that LVMH would be interested in if it ever came on the market, people at the world’s largest luxury group have acknowledged in the past.

Arnault completed a $15.8bn acquisition of US brand Tiffany in 2021 as he added to LVMH’s jewellery stall that also includes Bulgari, though the group’s biggest revenue driver remains fashion and handbag maker Louis Vuitton.

Richemont has also drawn interest from LVMH’s French rival Kering, which had tried to approach the Swiss group with a tie-up plan but was rebuffed.

Rupert has long insisted on wanting to preserve Richemont’s independence and recently overhauled the group’s management, by appointing a new chief executive, Nicolas Bos, who formerly ran its Van Cleef & Arpels brand.

It was not immediately clear when the Richemont shares were purchased. Bloomberg first reported news of Arnault’s stake, saying the French billionaire intended to hang on to it as an investment.

Richemont shares are up about 24 per cent this year and rose about…

2024-06-25 10:33:49

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