Moet-Hennessy S.A. and Louis Vuitton, two of the biggest and most prestigious names in the French wine, fragrance and luggage industries, said yesterday they will merge to form France's sixth-largest public company.
Though the companies said they plan to maintain their "autonomy, personality and dynamism," they will unite their financial resources in a joint holding company that anticipates annual revenue of more than $2 billion. Profits are expected to be in the $200 million-a-year range.
Louis Vuitton makes upscale, handmade luggage, owns the Givenchy perfume line and maintains vineyards in France where Veuve Clicquot, Henriot and Canard-Duchene champagnes are produced. Louis Vuitton, the first French company to sell stock in the United States, markets its products throughout the world.
Moet-Hennessy produces champagnes, including Dom Perignon, Moet et Chandon, Mercier and Ruinart; Hennessy cognac and Christian Dior fragrances.
Under terms of the merger, which requires the approval of both companies' shareholders, 2.4 shares of Louis Vuitton will be exchanged for each Moet-Hennessy share.
The new holding company, to be called LVMH-Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, will be the sixth-largest publicly traded company on the Paris stock exchange. The company trails Elf Aquitaine, Thomson, Air Liquide, Michelin and Peugeot, based on market capitalization.