“The family has clearly and unanimously said: If you want to be friendly, Mister Arnault, you need to withdraw,” said Bertrand Puech, a fifth-generation descendant of founder Thierry Hermes.
LVMH denies that they’d like to acquire the company, of which they bought over $2 billion in shares last month. But it’s obvious that a hostile takeover isn’t completely out of the question.
Hermes clearly doesn’t want to be a part of a large conglomerate. (Its other brands are John Lobb, a very high-end shoemaker, and a Chinese luxury label called Shang Xia.) “This culture (of craftmanship and strong traditions) is hardly compatible with one of a big group. It is not a financial battle, it’s a cultural battle,” said Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas.
Translation: Quality will diminish if LVMH gains control.
Again, we want to reiterate that LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault says he has no interest in taking over the company. But Hermes is calling his bluff. Let the battle begin.