Monday, 14 March 2011

Some thoughts on Moynat, Bvlgari, Burberry and LVMH

moynart horse cart, 1880 / ph:

amidst the chatter last week of lvmh buying into bvlgari, also reported that bernard arnault bought moynat, one of the oldest trunk makers in france. established in 1849 (five years before louis vuitton), it was touted as one of louis vuitton's competitors in his heydays. i find this deal to be more exciting and intriguing than that of bvlgari's. bvlgari long stated that they are looking to sell, and it's not much of a surprise that they chose lvmh as i find it's a very good fit. bvlgari should still shine brightly alongside de beers and chaumet, the other jewellery houses within lvmh.

moynat on the otherhand enjoyed it's brilliance up until 1967 when they closed their shop at place du théâtre in paris. according to, the scholl family bought the rights to moynat in the early 1980’s. orcofi, the vuitton family’s holding company (as in the 'original' vuitton family, not the arnault family), bought the rights to moynat in 1989, following the disposal of the bulk of their shares in lvmh (vuitton family gained shares in lvmh when they sold louis vuitton to bernard arnault). orcofi was then sold to AXA (the insurance group) in 1996 and luvanis SA bought the rights to moynat in 2009. filling in the gaps between 2009 to 2011, groupe arnault bought the rights to moynat, and per a new moynat boutique at rue st honore is in the works.

i find this far more interesting as i have a few questions.

why did groupe arnault instead of lvmh made the acquisition? (see this guide to bernard arnault's principal holdings / investment structure). do they not see moynat as a fit within lvmh, or was it really a personal interest to acquire moynat for mr arnault hence to keep it out of lvmh?

2. moynat hasn't done much since the 60s, and it's name is slowly fading out. reviving the brand of course is great, the legacy and heritage lives on. what is groupe arnault planning for moynat? restoring it as a principal trunk maker and luxury travel goods company bring it in direct competition to louis vuitton.

vintage moynat ads / ph:

part of me feels that perhaps someone else should revive moynat. but given mr arnault's expertise, perhaps moynat is indeed in good hands. this then leads to another question:

3. why some of the other fashion houses have grown so big in recent years and appearing to be at maturing stage, but not bought other opportunistic brands and be conglomerate themselves to keep on growing. i would like to direct this question to hermès and burberry if i may.

4. and speaking about burberry and lvmh, there were persistent rumours in recent months about the possibility of lvmh acquiring burberry. in my humble opinion, as a bystander who sees things with innocence, i really do not think so. burberry's share price is at it's peak now, valuing the company at £5.2bn. if lvmh really had intentions to acquire, it would have done so a year ago when share prices were halved, and i am sure they had the foresight to see burberry riding through the storm. with lvmh shelving out €4.3bn for 50.4% stake in bvlgari and €1.45bn for 17.1% in hermès, it kind of rules out lvmh as a possible suitor for now. hence this links to point 3 above, will they consider growing by acquisition or are they just looking to sell on a high?

i don't know why i ponder about such things. anyway, looking forward to see what groupe arnault has in store for moynat.



  1. I guess where Goyard has usurped LV in the last decade, there's been a gradual trawling of the archives to flush out brands from the earliest decades of modern consumer culture. There's also that particularly French protectiveness that's preserved many of the couture craft ateliers in Paris beyond their natural lifespan.

    Moynat is a funny one in that it's effectively been extinct for almost half a century - so it does feel slightly forced, in the way the Vionnet and Worth relaunches lacked a certain authenticity. But it does have a distinctive monogram, which is probably a pre-requisite! And the stylized Deco collaborations with interior designer Henri Rabin suggest a potential for something more decorative.

    In the rush to track down these antique brands, it seems a shame that some of the less venerable, but maybe more relevant travel goods labels like Connolly have fallen by the wayside


  2. well said JM. i didn't realise moynat has a monogram, makes more sense now. now you reminded me of connolly...

  3. The reason Groupe Arnault buys it and not LVMH is because Mr Arnault likes to buy cheap himself and sell expensively to LVMH It's a highly dubious practice sanctionned by friendly "independent" valuers. He did the same trick with Cheval Blanc. It's all well hidden behind a web of unquoted holdings and subsidiaries. Can't blame him really. Try generating wealth in Europe without bending the rules and you'd be bankrupt within a year.


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