Hermès Makes Good on Its Plan to Protect Itself From LVMH

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Fly, little bird! Photo: Photo illustration: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images, iStockphoto

The Hermès family announced a few weeks ago that they were planning to protect their company from a hostile takeover by LVMH by funneling a majority of their shares into a non-listed holding company where Bernard Arnault can't get his grubby hands on them. And behold, between attending Christmas parties and weddings all month, the family's three branches of shareholding members managed to gather on Friday and place over 50 percent of the company's capital in the unnamed entity. Just because they've relocated their shares doesn't mean that they'll have any less control over them, though: “This internal reclassification will have no impact on the family’s involvement in the capital of Hermès International, nor on the powers of its limited partnership,” the family said in a statement.

There's one catch: The French government usually requires companies to launch a public offering if they pool their shares into a bloc larger then one third, so there could be some legal trouble ahead, since the Hermès family will obviously do no such thing.

Family Boosts Hermès Defenses [WSJ]
Earlier: Hermès’s CEO Calls It ‘the Pretty Flower’ That LVMH Could ‘Kill’