Tiffany’s volatile to COVID-related economic fallout and rising social unrest
The French company said its board “focused its attention on the development of the pandemic and its potential impact on the results and perspectives of Tiffany & Co. with respect to the agreement that links the two groups.”
While analysts have said the jeweler complements LVMH’s business, the deal has created headaches for LVMH. Tiffany’s reliance on the U.S. market makes it more vulnerable in the face of the COVID-related economic fallout and rising social unrest.
Since the deal—the largest in the luxury-goods industry—was reached in November, the virus outbreak has decimated demand. The political fallout from the death of George Floyd additionally risks weighing on consumer appetite, and Tiffany shares fell to $114.24 Wednesday.
LVMH shares were little changed early Thursday in Paris.
Investors have applauded the acquisition of Tiffany as a way for the luxury giant to better compete with Richemont-owned Cartier for leadership in the global jewelry market. However, Tiffany shares started dropping in March, when people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that LVMH was considering buying shares on the open market and examining possible legal hurdles to the idea.
Victoria’s Secret deal falls through
The retailer is marketing $750 million in secured notes, which may yield around 8%, and $500 million in unsecured bonds, which may yield between 10.5% and 10.75%, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The proceeds will be used to refinance debt and add cash to the balance sheet, the person said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.
L Brands was able to sell $500 million of unsecured 10-year bonds last year at a yield of 7.75%, but it’s a much different company now. It’s been recalibrating after the abrupt cancellation of its earlier deal to sell a majority stake in Victoria’s Secret to Sycamore Partners. That deal, which fell apart last month, would have given the private equity firm control of the beleaguered lingerie chain.
The now-abandoned deal, in which Sycamore was poised to take a 55% stake in Victoria’s Secret for about $525 million, was thrown into jeopardy in late April when Sycamore sued to terminate the transaction, arguing that Columbus, Ohio-based L Brands violated the terms of the agreement by failing to pay rent and furloughing thousands of workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The pact to terminate the deal was mutual.
The company has since said it will operate its Bath & Body Works as a standalone public company, while attempting to turn around the lingerie brand as a separate entity.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the lead manager on the bond sale, the person said, which is expected to price Thursday.