PARIS — Acquisition talk continues to swirl around Chanel, prompted not by the luxury giant’s latest financial figures — which are expected this month — but rather a conversation between executives at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and equity analysts.
Chanel is not worth 50 billion euros, but closer to 100 billion euros, so it’s “unclear who would have interest,” said analysts at Jefferies, in a research note recapping discussions with Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH’s chief financial officer, and Louis Vuitton chief executive officer Michael Burke.
The executives were hosting analysts on a two-day field trip focused on the Louis Vuitton brand’s leather goods’ manufacturing strategy and operations.
The 50 billion-euro figure has been floating around for the past year, with some saying it could be higher — one luxury industry source said 80 billion euros.
The famously private luxury company, which is held by the secretive Wertheimer brothers, fed speculation last year by publishing financial figures for the first time, with some interpreting the surprise move as a sign it could come up for sale.
“We firmly restate that Chanel is not for sale and we do not have any further comments on these unfounded rumors,” Chanel said Friday.
LVMH declined to comment.
Last summer, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas pegged the likely valuation of Chanel at “well above” the 50-billion-euro mark, saying a “prudent but realistic” valuation would be in the same ballpark as Hermès International.
Hermès has a market capitalization of 65 billion euros.
“Chanel would be transformational (and divisive) in a blue-sky mega-merger scenario, with many players interested in a deal,” said Exane BNP Paribas at the time.
In the note to clients, analysts predicted it could be a “great addition to LVMH,” citing synergies in beauty and selective distribution; a “rare chance” for Compagnie Financière Richemont to “step into a multicategory league” — in an alternative scenario to a tie-up with Kering, or even a target for health and personal-care companies operating in the high-end beauty category.
Chanel last year reported it had generated $9.6 billion in sales in 2017, up 11 percent year-over-year in constant currency terms, placing it in line with Louis Vuitton, commonly considered the world’s biggest luxury brand, with after-tax profit of $1.8 billion, up 18.6 percent.
Is Chanel Worth 100 Billion Euros?
LVMH execs seem to think so. But in the world of retail, few companies are worth that much. Here’s how Chanel would stack up against the competition – and a few other mega-sized firms.
Market Cap Size in USD
|Johnson & Johnson||
|Procter & Gamble Co.||
|The Walt Disney Co.||
$199.7 billion (176.2 billion euros)
|The Home Depot||
$153.9 billion (135.7 billion euros)
$113 billion (100 billion euros)
$87.9 billion (77.5 billion euros)
$71.7 billion (63.3 billion euros)
|Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.||
|The TJX Companies||
$67.1 billion (59.1 billion euros)
$58.4 billion (51.5 billion euros)
|Compagnie Financière Richemont||
$44.5 billion (44 billion Swiss francs)
|Source: S&P Capital IQ|