LVMH pulled a runaway bride moment earlier this week when after saying “I do” to a $16.6 billion acquisition of US jewellery brand Tiffany, it suddenly pulled out of the deal, leaving the iconic but fading brand at the altar.
Okay, enough of the wedding jokes. Let’s get down to the details. What happened? Why did LVMH suddenly get cold feet, sending Tiffany shares down by over 15%?
First answer; geo-political tensions. This has been the cause of many business gone wrong lately, hasn’t it? This time, the culprit is Washington vs. Paris. LVMH said that it had to pull out of the deal after the French government insisted it to delay completion.
Tiffany hit back with a lawsuit, saying that LVMH intentionally delayed the acquisition through the delay of antitrust filings and more.
“LVMH’s recent actions shed light on the true motives behind LVMH’s contrived delays and missed deadlines,” Tiffany said in the lawsuit.
Tiffany is asking the Delaware court to either force LVMH to complete the merger or award Tiffany damages that would be determined during a trial.
2020 has become the year where tension between countries cause mega billion dollar deals to fall, social media apps to exit countries and more.
The acquisition of Tiffany was primed to be the largest deal in the luxury sector, and now is fast becoming an example of how the pandemic causes business outlooks to shift.
The French government’s intervention in a private deal by a luxury goods conglomerate (not even anything to do with intellectual property, technology) highlights how companies that once remained above the geopolitical conflict are becoming pawns in trade disputes.
Businesses and politics are entering a new world order, and to put it simply, it’s getting complicated.