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Is Hermes's United Family Front Against Bernard Arnault and LVMH Starting to Crack?

Is Hermes's United Family Front Against Bernard Arnault and LVMH Starting to Crack?

>> Is a fissure in Hermes's family unity against LVMH and Bernard Arnault already emerging? Some thought it would take years, but Nicolas Puech, brother of Bertrand Puech (who is executive chairman of Emile Hermes and represents the family shareholders), told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that he doesn't agree with the family's current defense strategy, which involves locking up all of their shares in a holding group to protect from takeover bids by Arnault.

“I told my family that locking up our shares in a holding would have the major drawback of depriving the family shareholders of their individual power to control management,” Nicolas Puech said. He did add, however: “But in a family, you can’t agree on everything. I am very attached to my family and above all I want it to remain united.” His brother Bertrand, who Nicolas says he remains on good terms with, has repeatedly, and publicly, asked Arnault to withdraw from the company.

Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas said at a news conference recently that one family member — who owns roughly 10 percent of the capital — had not brought his shares into the holding group for tax reasons, but added that he was still united with the family. The family member in question is likely Nicolas Puech — who also noted, “I have close relationships with many of my cousins" — a comment which, WWD points out, will "likely to be interpreted as a sign that Arnault could yet win over members of the Hermes clan."

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