The legal battle between Hermès and its unwelcome investor, LVMH, is getting uglier.
Hermès is suing LVMH for "insider trading and manipulating stock prices," according to WWD.
While there are few details about the case available, Hermès said in a statement, “This complaint concerns the terms of LVMH’s entry into the capital of Hermès International.” Hermès, which is majority-owned by family members, has been fighting tooth and nail against what it perceives as a cultural takeover of the brand by LVMH.
The family members who control Hermès recently won a legal victory which allowed them to group their shares into one single holding company, making their collective stake over 70% and ensuring that they maintain control of the label. However, LVMH now owns a 22.3% stake in Hermès. LVMH apparently had acquired their shares via cash-settled equity swaps--basically, it was a way to get the shares without having to declare them. This lawsuit apparently addresses how LVHM got their hands on the shares, and is just one more attempt to ensure that Hermès stays out of the grips of LVMH.
UPDATE: Looks like LVMH is fighting back now. WWD received a statement from LVMH in which the luxury conglomerate said that it will file a counter-complaint against Hermes for “blackmail, false accusations and unfair competition." LMVH asserts that the way it acquired the Hermes shares was "perfectly legal."