Looks like LVMH and Hermès are headed to court again. And this time, it's personal.
An LVMH spokesperson confirmed to WWD yesterday that the luxury powerhouse filed suit against an unidentified Hermès manager on Tuesday. While the manager's identity is not known, comments made by LVMH vice president Pierre Godé seem to insinuate that Hermès International's CEO Patrick Thomas is the target of the suit because of comments he made earlier this week.
At Hermès's annual meeting on Tuesday, Thomas accused LVMH of acquiring its 22.6 percent stake in the company in a “fraudulent” way. Referring to LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault's statement that the stake in Hermès was "not planned" and was "unexpected," Thomas sniped, "either LVMH is disorganized" or Arnault is lying. “I’ll let you decide,” he said.
Later that day, LVMH filed suit. Godé told French daily Le Figaro, that the charges were filed "following what was said by the manager." It doesn't take much to put two and two together.
“Hermès’s [multiple] campaigns [are] aimed to destabilize us," Godé continued in Le Figaro. "Our patience has its limits. It’s time that the public learns the truth."
Of course, the suit might also be LVMH's way of retaliating against that $13 million fine the French market authority, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), recommended it pay for gradually acquiring Hermès stocks.