Hermes battle to fend off LVMH gets fresh legal boost
PARIS (REUTERS) - An investigating magistrate has been named to probe the conditions surrounding the stake that luxury group LVMH has built in smaller rival Hermes , a judicial source said on Thursday.
The appointment gives fresh impetus to Hermes's battle against LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group and owner of fashion brand Louis Vuitton and Hennessy cognac.
The news means the financial crimes unit of the French police made preliminary checks and found sufficient evidence to turn a preliminary investigation started in October into a full-fledged investigation.
LVMH, which today owns 22.6 per cent of Hermes, surprised the market in October 2010 when it announced that it had a 14 per cent stake in Hermes, gained partly via equity derivatives that allowed it legally not to declare its holding.