Hermès boosts LVMH defences

Hermès is strengthening its defensive line against continued stakebuilding activity by the likes of LVMH with a series of proposed changes.

At its shareholder meeting at the end of May, Hermès will propose a new statute requiring shareholders with more than 0.5% to register their shares, WWD reported.

The measure will enable Hermès to monitor acquisitions. If such a statute had existed in 2010, it would have served as a tripwire alerting Hermès executives to LVMH’s acquisitions. In December, Hermès completed the formation of a holding company to block potential takeover attempts.

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LVMH revealed that it had built a 17.1% stake in Hermes in October 2010. The luxury conglomerate built its holding to 22.3% as of the end of 2011.

Hermès also plans to propose naming Nicolas Puech, the family member with the largest shareholding, as the 11th member of the board.

Although Hermès’s family owners oppose any external intervention, speculation that LVMH might be preparing to launch a takeover has lifted Hermès shares by 8.2% since the beginning of 2012.

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