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In His Own Words

PARIS — Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, proved to be a man of relatively few words during his protracted and bitter takeover battle for Gucci. But here is a sampling of some of his remarks on the Italian firm...

PARIS — Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, proved to be a man of relatively few words during his protracted and bitter takeover battle for Gucci. But here is a sampling of some of his remarks on the Italian firm from the pages of WWD:

“I think highly of Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford, and I hope to have them both at my side.”
— Jan. 14, 1999

“Gucci has recently come out of a turnaround, but that’s the easy part. What remains to be done is much more difficult — it’s what it’s taken Yves Carcelle and me 10 years to do with Vuitton. In that period we tripled operating profits. So we prefer to be prudent when it comes to Gucci.”
— March 19, 1999

“In luxury goods, business can be very profitable, but there are very few stars.…I don’t believe that at this stage Gucci is part of this category.”
— May 13, 1999

“My influence on Gucci is not enormous. They overpaid for Saint Laurent and I calculate that they will lose money for five years, so you really can’t say that we are satisfied with things there.”
— March 10, 2000

“We already have four or five star brands: Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Hennessy, Moët Chandon. I’d say Mr. De Sole has a lot of ground to make up.”
— March 8, 2002

“As far as competitors, there are two I admire: Chanel and Hermès. Next question.” (When asked his opinion of the luxury holdings of Gucci Group)
— May 16, 2003

“I think we can drive this business in the next two or three years without acquisitions. But there are other groups that, for various reasons, are going to have difficulties and they might have to let things go. In that case, we would take a look at them.”
— March 4, 2004

— Robert Murphy

This story first appeared in the September 16, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.