LVMH's Arnault to take full control of Christian Dior
French billionaire Bernard Arnault will combine the Christian Dior fashion brand with his LVMH luxury goods group as part of a 12 billion euro ($13 billion) move to simplify his business interests, a restructuring long demanded by other investors.
Under a series of complex transactions, LVMH will buy the Christian Dior Couture brand from the Christian Dior holding company for 6.5 billion euros, including debt.
That will unite the 70 year old fashion label worn by film stars from Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor to Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman with the Christian Dior perfume and beauty business already owned by LVMH.
The Arnault family, which holds a 47 percent stake in LVMH, will also offer to buy the 25.9 percent of the Christian Dior holding company it does not already own for about 260 euros per share, a premium of 15 percent over Monday's closing price.
LVMH shares rose 3 percent to a record high of 223 euros as investors and analysts welcomed the deals, which Arnault said would boost earnings at its fashion and leather goods division. Dior shares jumped 13 percent to a new high of 256 euros.
"This is a good acquisition for LVMH in our view given the strong brand of Christian Dior, good use of its balance sheet and it reunites the Christian Dior brand with the very profitable perfume operation that LVMH operates," Barclays analysts wrote in a research note.
The Dior holding company owns 41 percent of the LVMH group and 100 percent of Christian Dior Couture, the home of the Lady Dior handbag.
Arnault's family company will offer 172 euros per share and 0.192 Hermes shares for each Dior holding company share. It will also offer all-cash and all-share alternatives.
Arnault has a stake of about 8 percent in luxury group Hermes, and its shares fell about 5 percent on the prospect of more of the stock coming to the market.
The transactions "will allow the simplification of the structures, long requested by the market, and the strengthening of LVMH's Fashion and Leather Goods division," Arnault said in a statement.
LVMH said the overall deal would boost earnings per share within the first year of its completion, with the transactions expected to close during the second half of 2017.
($1 = 0.92 euros)
(Additional reporting by Blandine Henault; Editing by Andrew Callus and Mark Potter)