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On the Block? LVMH Mum On Sale Talks

NEW YORK — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has declined comment on reports circulating in the market that at least two cosmetics companies are talking about possibly acquiring the beauty licenses of Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Kenneth...

NEW YORK — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has declined comment on reports circulating in the market that at least two cosmetics companies are talking about possibly acquiring the beauty licenses of Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Cole from LVMH.

According to reports, Estée Lauder is negotiating for the Kors license, although there is no sense of certainty at this point that any of the talks will be fruitful. A spokeswoman for Lauder declined comment on the grounds that “the company does not comment on rumors.” That was the same position taken by LVMH and the third company mentioned in speculation, Coty Inc.

Coty reportedly has expressed an interest in possibly acquiring the Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Cole licenses.

Jacobs figures prominently in the LVMH stable, as chief designer of Louis Vuitton and the luxury giant holds a major stake in his fashion firm. LVMH divested its stake in Kors in January.

Fragrances by all three designers are distributed and marketed by the American Designer Fragrances division of Parfums Givenchy Inc. According to industry estimates, the two main fragrances by Kors — a women’s and a men’s — generated a combined $31 million in U.S. retail sales last year, while the two limited-distribution Jacobs brands generated $20 million. Kenneth Cole’s men’s and women’s master brand reportedly brought in $21 million.

Meanwhile, speculation resurfaced that John Idol, chairman and chief executive of Kasper ASL, was heading to Michael Kors. Idol firmly denied the talk Thursday.

This story first appeared in the April 11, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.