MILAN — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s $100 million lawsuit against Morgan Stanley and its luxury analyst Claire Kent has fueled another round of mudslinging with Gucci Group.
This story first appeared in the December 11, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Morgan Stanley’s investment bankers advise Gucci on acquisitions and other financial matters, and as far as Domenico De Sole, Gucci’s president and chief executive officer, the LVMH lawsuit should never have happened.
“I am totally amazed by the lawsuit. I believe that Claire Kent is the most independent analyst I’ve ever met,” said De Sole, who criticized LVMH for taking legal action. “If there’s an analyst I don’t agree with, I call him…that’s as far as it should go.”
De Sole also highlighted the importance of corporate transparency. As reported, Gucci took pains to criticize an analyst who drew parallels between how LVMH and Gucci fail to break down financial results for some of their business divisions. De Sole has repeatedly criticized LVMH for not breaking out its Louis Vuitton sales.
The Gucci ceo said he felt obligated to inform the market in a timely manner when the company discovered it would not make its profit and sales forecasts.
“We felt it was our duty to inform our investors immediately,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kent has received another vote of confidence from an independent tracking service.
AQ Publications, a London-based quarterly that tracks the accuracy of equity research, released a study concluding that Kent’s earnings-per-share forecasts were above average in accuracy compared with 36 rival houses for the past three years.
AQ tracks analysts’ earnings-per-share forecasts and revisions versus actual results. In its most recent study, for the third quarter, Morgan Stanley ranks ninth in accuracy on LVMH earnings.
LVMH declined to comment on the AQ report.