The world’s largest luxury goods group just got larger, as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE announced early on November 25 that it will acquire luxury jewelry giant Tiffany & Co. in a transaction totaling $16.2 billion in stock buyouts. The deal is expected to close in mid-2020 and has the potential to radically reshape the currently luxury watch retail landscape.
When asked for comment, LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault stated, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Tiffany, a company with an unparalleled heritage and unique position in the global jewelry world, to the LVMH family. We have an immense respect and admiration for Tiffany and intend to develop this jewel with the same dedication and commitment that we have applied to each and every one of our Maisons. We will be proud to have Tiffany sit alongside our iconic brands and look forward to ensuring that Tiffany continues to thrive for centuries to come.” It is difficult to say for certain what all this could mean for the watch industry moving forward.
Although only part of the group’s vast portfolio of luxury brand’s LVMH’s watch division encompasses a wide variety of high-profile nameplates including TAG Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari, Hublot, Chaumet, and Dior Watches. To this will be added Tiffany & Co.’s own line of in-house timepieces, including standouts such as the CT60 Chronograph and the East West collection. Beyond this, there are no details yet on what this will mean for watch sales at Tiffany & Co.’s massive retailer network and how it may or may not change up the lineup of watchmakers available at Tiffany & Co. outlets.
Of particular interest to collectors as well is the question this raises about the future of the legendary series of Tiffany & Co. signed dials on watches. While the Tiffany & Co. signature has historically graced the dials of iconic pieces from Patek Philippe, Rolex, and more over the years (oftentimes dramatically increasing sale values at auction), the news of this corporate acquisition leaves the door wide open to the possibility of Tiffany & Co. signed TAG Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari or Hublot timepieces in the future although nothing has of yet been announced. The other major question is how this merger will affect the long standing relationship between Tiffany & Co. and Patek Philippe, which has been continuously maintained all the way back to 1876.
Whatever the future may hold, it’s clear that this merger is a further example of the growing centralization of the watch industry, with nearly all major Swiss brands now sitting under the umbrella of a few major holding companies.