Hermès, one of the last holdouts against the era of fashion conglomerates, has a new “long term shareholder” with Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) revealing it now holds a 14.2 percent stake in Hermès International. LVMH states that it has no plans to take control of the luxury brand, launch a tender offer or seek board representation: “The objective of LVMH is to be a long-term shareholder of Hermès and to contribute to the preservation of the family and French attributes which are at the heart of the global success of this iconic brand.”
Hermès International had originally gone public in 1993 – however, the founding family is still at the helm, maintaining control over approximately three-quarters of the company’s shares and thereby ensuring creative and business autonomy. This has been seen as one of the key elements behind the fashion brand’s unrivalled position at the pinnacle of the luxury pyramid.
Not only is it famed for the iconic Birkins, Kellys and silk scarves but is also one of the rare handful of international houses that has an in-house perfumer and does not outsource its fragrance conceptualisation and creation to the couple of generic firms that run the show nowadays.
Will this change in the future? Is it the fall of another giant at the altar of corporatisation and balance sheets? The breaching of the last bastion? Time will tell but I am keeping my fingers firmly crossed in favour of things remaining unchanged. Watch this space for more updates.