LVMH and Hermès are in the midst of an ugly legal battle over LVMH's apparent relentless pursuit of Hermès and the potentially unlawful ways in which the luxury conglomerate came into 22.6% of the heritage brand.
“You know, we found ourselves owning shares in this company…unexpectedly," Arnault said at LVMH's annual meeting (according to WWD). "We had not planned to be shareholders in this firm. We made a financial investment, and that financial investment had an outcome that we had not expected.”
He also insists that he does not plan to increase his stake in the family-owned luxury brand. "We have no intention at all of increasing our stake to play a role in this company. We want instead to be friendly supporters of one of France’s finest companies — and that’s all," he said.
It's the most we've heard from LVMH on the matter, likely due to the pending legal battle, which he did not directly address. Following Hermes's suit against LVMH for insider trading, collusion, and manipulating stock prices, LVMH filed a suit of its own against Hermès for slander, blackmail, and unfair competition.
It's Arnault's second attempt this month at saving face--last week he announced he had withdrawn his Belgian citizenship application amidst speculation he intended to escape France's increasing taxes.