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Gucci open to another bid
April 19, 1999: 11:37 a.m. ET

Fashion house amenable to unconditional LVMH offer of $88 a share; LVMH balks
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Shares of Gucci bounced more than 5 percent Monday in Amsterdam after the Italian fashion house said it would be willing to entertain an unconditional bid of $88 a share from French suitor LVMH. The French group, meanwhile, lost little time pouring cold water on the Gucci offer.
     LVMH, a maker of such luxury goods as Louis Vuitton luggage and Moet & Chandon champagne, has been locked in a rancorous, four-month takeover battle for Gucci that has seen the French company appeal directly to Gucci shareholders in an effort to convince them of the merits of its offer.
     Gucci, for its part, has accused LVMH of mounting a "creeping takeover"
     LVMH has amassed a 34.4 percent stake in Gucci since the start of the year but wants to gain full control of the company, for around $9 billion.
     The group has indicated it is willing to launch a bid for 100 percent of the Italian house at $85 to $91 a share, but only if Gucci can deliver the 42 percent interest Gucci has transferred to French retailer Pinault Printemps Redoute.
     LVMH also is seeking the retention of Gucci's creative-designing guru, Tom Ford.
     Gucci, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, has objected to LVMH's conditions on the grounds that it has can't speak for PPR, and has no power to force executives to stay at the company.
     A court hearing is set for Thursday in Amsterdam at which LVMH will seek to challenge Gucci's defensive tactics against LVMH's takeover quest.
     A London-based analyst, who requested anonymity, said she sees the latest maneuvers as a sign that the companies are searching for common ground ahead of the court hearing.
     "It looks to me as though they are drawing closer together," she said.
     Gucci reiterated Monday its earlier rejection of LVMH's conditions, but said it is willing to entertain an unconditional bid at a minimum of $88 a share.
     LVMH swiftly rejected the offer.
     "The fact has not escaped Gucci's board that they have created a situation by issuing such a large chunk of shares to Pinault-Printemps-Redoute and effectively handing control to Pinault-Printemps-Redoute," an LVMH spokesman told Reuters.
     The spokesman said an unconditional offer has no chance of success. Gucci shares jumped 5.16 percent to close at 74.40 euros in Amsterdam Monday. Back to top


LVMH targets Gucci guru? - April 14, 1999

Gucci turns down LVMH bid - April 8, 1999




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