Loose Tiffany diamonds.

Bernard Arnault made his billions in dealmaking, buying scores of companies and building LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton into, well, LVMH — the cornerstone of the luxury industry.

As is true with all the best dealmakers, Arnault is not one to overpay, and now that COVID-19 has reordered the world since he agreed to buy Tiffany & Co. for $16.2 billion, his rough-and-tumble instincts appear to be coming to the fore.

But as he seeks to pull out of the Tiffany deal, citing a request from the French government as part of a U.S.-France trade dispute over digital services, he faces a cross-Atlantic counterparty that is also used to a little rough and tumble.

Tiffany chairman Roger Farah negotiated the deal and now has spoken out strongly against LVMH’s move to drop it. Tiffany has also filed a Delaware lawsuit to keep it alive, an action that could conceivable put Arnault literally on the stand. 

As the two competitors-cum-partners-cum-combatants square off, here’s a quick look at generals leading the charge. 

LVMH chief Bernard Arnault.

LVMH chief Bernard Arnault.  Dominique Maitre/WWD

Bernard Arnault

Age: 71

Title: Chairman and ceo, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. 

Net worth: $115 billion, according to Forbes.

Professional start: Engineer at the Ferret-Savinel construction company. 

Milestone: Arnault became majority shareholder of LVMH in 1989. 

Reputation: Arnault is seen widely as a savvy dealmaker who has not shied away from conflict as he consolidated power in the luxury world. 

Tiffany chairman Roger Farah.

Tiffany chairman Roger Farah.  Mark Lennihan/AP Photo

Roger Farah

Age: 66

Title: Chairman, Tiffany & Co.

Formerly: Co-ceo of Tory Burch; president and chief operating officer of Ralph Lauren Corp.; chairman of Venator Group Inc. (Foot Locker, Inc.); president and chief operating officer of R.H. Macy & Co. Inc.; chairman and ceo of Federated Merchandising Services. 

Early career: He held a series of executive positions at Saks Fifth Avenue from 1975 to 1987.

Milestone: Farah joined Ralph Lauren in 2000. 

Reputation: Farah is seen as the consummate operator having helped transform Ralph Lauren into a global powerhouse. For years he has been on headhunters’ wishlist of ceo candidates, but Farah has largely held back, wielding a quiet forcefulness.

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