5) Conglomerate LVMH acquires a 17.1% stake in ultra-luxe Hermès
Bernard Arnault is Europe's richest man and his luxury conglomerate, LVMH, which owns such venerable brands like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, released a statement on October 27, 2010 that it has acquired 17.1% of all the outstanding shares in the Hermès Group. French regulatory law states that when a company buys 5% or more of another company, they must disclose the purchase.
LVMH, however, did no such thing. No, LVMH did not just break the law. Instead, they did what is called an equity swap. 00o000 does a great job of simplifying what LVMH did so that the vast majority of the public who does not study or work in Finance can understand.
Since the announcement, the Hermès Group (and the Hermès family, who owns more than 70% of all the stock) have fought back against LVMH, calling their acquisition the precursor to a hostile takeover. The ensuing battle for control of Hermès could vastly change the luxury market, concentrating the luxury handbag market mainly within LVMH's hands and could spell worries for LVMH's competition, namely PPR, which owns Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and many other high end brands.
See pictures of Louis Vuitton and Hermès accessories from their Fall/Winter 2010 to Spring/Summer 2011 lines below: