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France – LVMH fined €8mill over Hermès stake acquisition bid

France – LVMH fined €8mill over Hermès stake acquisition bid

France’s regulator of the stock market, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has imposed a fine of €8 million (£6.8 million) on the luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) for failing to disclose to the market about raising its stake in Hermès International holdings. However, Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH has declared that they will file an appeal against the decision.

LVMH is guilty of surreptitiously building up a stake of 22.3% in Hermès International holdings since 2001, through cash-settled equity swaps. LVMH had erred when it overlooked the disclosure requirements for this acquisition, and not published it in its consolidated financial statements for 2008-2009. Only in October 2010 did LVMH disclose its ample stake in Hermès, resulting in the latter resorting to legal action, demanding that these equity swaps for its stakes be annulled.

A judicial inquiry against LVMH was instituted by France’s public prosecutor earlier this year. This is the highest ever fine imposed by AMF against any firm. While the course of action was already decided on June 25, 2013, the information was released to the media only on July 1.


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