In 1911, the year this portrait was made, Louis proves that he inherited from his father the ability to impress and transform Tiffany into absolute reference. Just imagine that you are such a good customer of the house that she decides to baptize one of her stones in your honor. That's what happened that year: a gem discovered in Madagascar is named Morganite, for the banker J.P. Morgan. Not surprisingly, the investment fund is today one of the jeweler's main shareholders.
After the death of Louis, the company loses its splendor. It was not until the 50s that Walter Hoving take over the case by installing as vice-president one of the star designers of the time, Jean Schlumberger. The aura of the house reaches its peak with orders from the White House or thanks to the film Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn who settles durably in the spirits. But at Uncle Sam, the dollars are king and Avon bought Tiffany & Co. in 1979 for $ 100 million. Five years later, the report is bitter: the firm has not managed to make Tiffany an accessible claw and is forced to sell. For Walter Hoving, who resigned in the meantime, "they bought Tiffany to gain prestige, and that's not a good reason." This is the exact opposite of what LVMH is currently looking for, rather in search of a brand that can be at its height in order to conquer the United States.
The tarnished diamond
Information from a potential buyout was so well received by the markets that Tiffany & Co.'s share price jumped by 22% and LVMH's – to a lesser extent. The offer, although not solicited by the jeweler, comes at the right time for the parties involved. On the one hand Tiffany is the only US firm that has value and a presence in the global luxury market, but its latest conversion – opening up to China to access a new customer base – is not going as planned. The trade war between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping makes Tiffany products much less attractive to luxury-hungry Chinese consumers. Moreover, the mobilizations Hong Kong, where the blue enterprise has been established, do not help. LVMH and its portfolio of brands highly appreciated by Asian customers could be the solution.
But the interest for the family Arnault would be mainly to conquer North America, where 44% of the jeweler's sales take place, ahead of China (28%) and Japan (which represents 15% of the figure). business). The LVMH group has been looking for a gateway to the United States for some time and the iconic Fifth Avenue building seems to be the place to be. But here or elsewhere, all dreams come at a price. If the 13 billion are confirmed, it would be the largest acquisition of the French conglomerate. The situation of Tiffany, which has been in crisis since well before the economic crisis, lends itself to it: its main shareholders are large managers of investment funds and banks and very few today have a link with luxury and glamour.
This article has been translated from RevistaVanityFair.es