PARIS, September 22 (Reuters) – The French Elysee has asked French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to send LVMH a letter advising the luxury goods group to postpone the acquisition of American jeweler Tiffany, according to two sources familiar with discussions within the government over the letter.
LVMH’s $ 16 billion purchase of Tiffany hit the rocks after the French conglomerate said it couldn’t close the deal before the November 24 deadline.
LVMH cited, in part, an official request from the Foreign Office to postpone closing the deal until January amid trade tensions with the United States. The letter requesting the delay was signed by Le Drian, according to US legal documents filed by Tiffany and LVMH.
According to the two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Elysee, Macron’s office, had asked Drian to produce the letter.
The Elysee declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry referred the inquiries to a representative of Drian’s, who did not immediately respond.
Asked by Reuters about possible interactions between the Elysee Palace and the Foreign Ministry over the letter, LVMH did not respond directly to the question.
A spokesperson for LVMH reiterated previous statements denying that the company had solicited the letter, and said the information said it was malicious rumors. “We formally deny these unfounded rumors,” he said, referring to reports that LVMH played a role in the letter. (Report by Michel Rose, Gwenaelle Barzic, John Irish, Elizabeth Pineau, Sarah White and Leigh Thomas edited by Christian Lowe)