After seeming to entertain some doubts, the market is feeling a little more bullish about the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s mega deal to buy Tiffany & Co.
The New York-based jeweler released fourth-quarter results Friday — which showed a sales increase of 3 percent in the fourth quarter, but a flat year — and suggested the deal was still on, forgoing its traditional conference call because of the transaction.
The deal — priced at $135 a share or $16.2 billion — locked up last year, seemingly had some investors getting antsy in the coronavirus panic (although some might also needed to have suddenly put the money elsewhere).
On Wednesday, the stock traded as low as $103.89, a very steep discount to the deal price.
LVMH has stayed mum, but Bloomberg reported that the luxury giant led by Bernard Arnault was sticking to what would be its biggest luxury deal ever and considering buying Tiffany stocks at a discount on the open market.
The stock recovered significantly Thursday, trading up 13.9 percent to $126, a level it was maintained on Friday, closing at $125.44.
Meanwhile, the company is battening down the hatches for the shutdown gripping the West and still lingering in China, where the pandemic started.
Alessandro Bogliolo, chief executive officer, said: “Our primary focus now is on preparing our company, business and communities for the COVID-19 pandemic and the return to normal operations. The health and well-being of our employees and customers are critical and we continue to adopt recommended safeguards and plans at our stores, offices and factories as circumstances change. We have had to temporarily close or shorten operating hours of certain stores around the globe.”
Since Jan. 24, the company’s China business has lost about half of its normal selling days because of closures.
“Our agile teams are aligned to continually assess the dynamic conditions resulting from the global outbreak to determine our near-term actions,” he said.
In the fourth quarter, Tiffany’s net earnings slipped to $201.2 million from $204.5 million. Sales for the three months rose to $1.36 billion from $1.32 billion, with sales up 4 percent in the Americas and Europe and 8 percent in the firm’s Asia Pacific region, but down 8 percent in Japan.