Louis Vuitton owner LVMH has approached Tiffany & Co with an acquisition offer, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday, at a time when the US luxury jeweler grapples with the impact of tariffs on its exports to China.
LVMH, which has for years been looking for ways to expand in the US market, submitted a preliminary, non-binding offer to Tiffany earlier this month, one of the sources said.
Tiffany has hired advisers to review LVMH’s offer, but has not yet responded to it, and there is no certainty that it will negotiate a deal, one of the sources added.
The exact price that LVMH was offering to buy Tiffany, which has a market capitalization of US$11.9 billion, could not be learned.
The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
LVMH declined to comment, while Tiffany did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bloomberg News reported earlier on Saturday that LVMH was holding talks with Tiffany.
LVMH has stood out for several years as one of the top performers in the upscale retail sector, where not all labels are benefiting to the same degree from booming Chinese appetite for branded goods.
Tiffany, on the other hand, has not been as resilient. Beyond the tariffs triggered by the US-China trade dispute, a lower Chinese domestic sales tax has also contributed to double-digit decreases in its sales to Chinese tourists in the US and in other destinations.
The months of demonstrationsin Hong Kong are starting to take their toll on high end brands as well.
However, earlier this month LVMH, which has a market capitalization of 194 billion euros (US$215 billion), beat sales forecasts for the third quarter despite the unrest in Hong Kong.
Tiffany in August reported quarterly earnings that also beat analysts’ expectations, thanks to a drop in marketing costs.
Paris-headquartered LVMH is controlled by the Arnault family and is led by Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man.