France’s richest man Bernard Arnault may be looking to take Christian Dior – the supposed jewel of his empire – off the stock market thanks to looming developments in French financial law. Under the watch of French president Emmanuel Macron, who was publicly endorsed by Arnault in his presidential run in 2017, has introduced a “wide-ranging bill” to make France more attractive for business, including a provision that will lower the nation’s squeeze-out threshold – the point at which the majority holder(s) of a company may require minority shareholders to sell off their shares – from 95 to 90 percent.
The potential change in the legal rules governing the financial technique could “tempt” Arnault, the chairman of luxury conglomerate LVMH, “to make a final swoop on taking Christian Dior private,” according to Reuters. Arnault, who, until recently – thanks to a whopping $13 billion deal last year – held a “94.2 percent [stake in Dior], just short of the current 95 percent threshold for squeeze outs.” However, Reuters suggests that Arnault does not actually need to wait until the new financial provisions are passed to take Dior off the market, as he “has since raised his interest [in Dior] to 96.5 percent,” which is above the required threshold for forcing out minority owners.
“The [financial] rule changes, combined with falling luxury stocks prices, may revive the magnate’s interest in taking Dior behind closed doors,” Reuters’ Lisa Jucca wrote on Monday. But more than that, she says, taking Dior private would mean a reduction in financial disclosures. In the upper echelon of the fashion industry, where information is notoriously kept as close to the chest as possible, this could prove one of the more tempting aspects of all.