French luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Wednesday it's buying a 5%-10% stake in Britain's Asprey & Garrard, Reuters reports. The companies have not released financial details about the deal; they've only said it will be a strategic alliance. According to Reuters, it's expected that LVMH will help fund Asprey & Garrard's overseas expansion plans.
The announcement came after Gianluca Brozzetti, president and CEO of LVMH's Louis Vuitton Malletier, decided to leave LVMH to become Asprey & Garrard CEO by June. Brozzetti has not announced his plans for the British jeweler, but he has said he will try to apply the expansion strategy that transformed Bulgari from a small family-held company into a publicly-quoted and internationally-known brand, Reuters reports. This is in line with the company's ongoing strategy to turn the royal jeweler into a rival of international brands such as Tiffany & Co.
Asprey & Garrard was bought in July 2000 by Lawrence Stroll and Silas Choua, co-chairmen and shareholders of U.S. fashion group Tommy Hilfiger. Stroll and Choua announced plans last year to split the brand. Plans include revamping Asprey for the young and fashion-conscious, and pushing Garrard, the former crown jeweler, into a separate area at its flagship store in London.
- by Julia M. Duncan