Well this is unexpected.
LVMH was recently fined $10.4 million over the way in which it acquired a 17% stake in Hermès (Hermès alleges LVMH came by the shares unlawfully, LVMH said they acquired the shares “unexpectedly“). In addition to appealing that decision, LVMH filed a lawsuit against an Hermes manager, most likely for alleging publicly that LVMH had come into its stake in Hermès in fraudulent ways. At the time, LVMH had a 22.6% stake in Hermès.
Now, LVMH has a 23.1% stake, WWD is reporting. Yep, as of June 30, 2013, LVMH actually bought more Hermès shares in the midst of the two luxury businesses’ many ongoing legal battles over LVMH buying Hermès shares.
This follows years of Hermès imploring LVMH to reduce its shareholding, and Bernard Arnault’s recent insistence that LVMH’s intentions have been peaceful and practically accidental and that they “have no intention at all of increasing our stake to play a role in this company.”
LVMH already sounds pretty defensive about the recent purchase. “It was an opportunistic move,” LVMH chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony told the trade. “It doesn’t say anything about our attitude in the future, so you cannot extrapolate that for the rest of the year.”
Well, at least this investment was disclosed publicly, unlike the 17% that got LVMH into trouble in the first place. According to the trade, there is also speculation that Hermès family members are unloading their shares, which means more could be up for grabs.