LVMH is trying to walk away from its blockbuster deal for Tiffany.

PARIS — While LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. are poised for a stand-off in the Delaware Chancery court today, the beleaguered acquisition project has embarked on an altogether different journey with European competition authorities — one seeking regulatory approval. 

The European Commission posted a provisional deadline of Oct. 26 for its decision on the potential deal, listing it as entering the first phase of the process Monday.

LVMH said earlier this month it could not go through with the $16.2 billion acquisition, the largest in the history of the luxury sector, because the French government had asked it to delay the closing in light of an ongoing trade spat with Washington.

Tiffany shot back by filing a lawsuit with the Delaware court, accusing LVMH of slow-walking regulatory approval of the agreement in the European Union. LVMH countered that it was working through the approval process and that it was disappointed in how Tiffany was managed during the coronavirus crisis.

Last week, LVMH revealed it had submitted the proposed acquisition to European authorities, a move seen as a formality geared at weakening the American jeweler’s argument that the luxury group was dragging its feet.

Tiffany welcomed the move, saying it was “delighted” that a filing had been submitted to the European Union.

LVMH said last week that eight out of 10 antitrust clearances have been obtained. 

The European Commission can approve the project following the first phase investigation, or, if competition concerns arise, open a second-level investigation. 

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