Contrary to predictions, it took French stock-market regulators only a few hours to grant Hermès the exemption they needed to go through with their anti-takeover plan against LVMH. The regulation committee, known as AMF, met today to determine the legality of Hermès's scheme to pool 50 percent of the company's shares (the Hermès family owns 70 percent) into an unnamed holding company so that LVMH can't buy up more of them. Under French market regulations, companies are required to issue a public offering when they're regrouping over 33 percent of their shares; Hermès has now been exempt from this rule. Going forward, if LVMH wants to buy any more of Hermès's shares, Bernard Arnault will have to issue a formal offer to the family, which they will most likely take great pleasure in turning down.
Hermès is not entirely out of the woods yet, though: The AMF's decision will probably be appealed by lobbyists for minority shareholders. Meanwhile, LVMH is still being investigated for their purchase of over 20 percent of Hermès's shares during the past three months, which they have been accused of doing illegally.