International Analysis

The mystery of French foreign minister's letter behind sinking of LVMH-Tiffany deal

An opportune letter sent by French foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to LVMH luxury goods group boss Bernard Arnault gave the latter a justification for pulling out of a costly acquisition of US jewellers Tiffany that was agreed before the economic meltdown from the Covid-19 pandemic. According to LVMH, Le Drian, citing a looming tariffs dispute with the US, asked for the 16.6 billion-dollar deal to be halted. Curiously, the letter has never been made public. As Martine Orange reports, it is now at the heart of a legal battle between Tiffany and LVMH to be played out at a trial in the US in January, and threatens to become a major embarrassment for the French government.

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Earlier this month, French luxury goods group LVMH announced that it was pulling out of its agreed acquisition of US jewellers Tiffany & Co after French foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian asked for it to be halted.

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