LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Thursday “it is not considering buying Tiffany shares on the market,” squelching speculation it could take advantage of a sharp drop in Tiffany’s value in recent days.
LVMH issued the statement “considering the recent market rumors” and did not elaborate.
It confirmed a WWD report that the board of the luxury giant met to review its $16.2 billion offer for Tiffany & Co. in light of a deteriorating situation in the U.S. market, Tiffany’s largest.
“The board of directors of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, met on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 and notably focused its attention on the development of the pandemic and its potential impact on the results and perspectives of Tiffany & Co. with respect to the agreement that links the two groups,” it said.
WWD broke the news on June 2 that the luxury sector’s biggest deal ever was looking a lot less certain following the gathering.
Sources told WWD that board members expressed concern about the impact not only of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives in America and wreaked widespread economic damage, but also of the growing social unrest over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The outpouring of anger over racial injustice in America has prompted widespread demonstrations and also looting and property destruction in many cities, scuttling attempts to get the economy moving again.
In addition, these sources said, LVMH board members voiced concerns about Tiffany’s ability to cover all its debt covenants at the end of the transaction, which was expected to be concluded mid-year.
Tiffany & Co. has been mum on the LVMH takeover — and market conditions in the U.S.
The Americas region — which includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Chile — accounted for 43 percent of Tiffany’s net sales in fiscal 2019, according to the company’s web site.
Tiffany was expected to release its first-quarter results on Friday, but the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was pushing that back to Tuesday. No reason was given for the delay.
The jeweler’s stock fell 2.4 percent to $114.24 on Wednesday, extending the 8.9 percent drop on Tuesday after the WWD report. (LVMH’s stock fared just fine after the possibility of no deal cropped up and rose 2.2 percent to 393.45 euros in Paris.)
Last November, LVMH agreed to acquire Tiffany for $135 a share.
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