The press in attendance at Hermès last week were there to hear about the firm's record profitability in 2010, but got one sensational sound bite when CEO Patrick Thomas took to the microphone to blast LVMH head Bernard Arnault's startling acquisition of more than 20 percent in shares of his rival company last fall, as WWD reported:
“If you want to seduce a beautiful woman, you don’t start by raping her from behind,” said Thomas.
While outlets like Bloomberg have been reporting that LVMH is just "playing a waiting game" in terms of staging a full-on takeover, Thomas was quick to dismiss any possibility of collaboration with LVMH, and indicated the ruling families at Hermès might go so far as to delist the company or buy out shareholders to maintain control.
Meanwhile, LVMH made clear that the Galliano/Dior scandal wasn't slowing down its ambitions (Dior is part of the conglomerate) as WWD reports it took control of luxury competitor Bulgari, bringing the family into the fold to help run its now significantly elevated presence in the watch and jewelry category. According to WWD:
"The alliance between my group and the Bulgari family is a perfect combination from all points of view as we share the same culture in terms of respect for identity and roots of the brands, quest for excellence, creativity and innovation," said Arnault of the move.
Between the impending rumors of designer musical chairs behind the scenes at Dior and the rumored mergers in terms of business, Paris is becoming the city to watch this season.