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LVMH cements wine distribution network with $3.2 billion Belmond acquisition

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is set to acquire the London-based high-end travel and hospitality company extending its luxury goods supply channels around the world.

The agreement will see LVMH take over the Belmond brand, formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels, and its global portfolio of hotels, restaurants, trains and river cruises increasing its presence in the luxury hotel world and marking a move into the so-called ‘experiential’ luxury sector.

Tapping into the rising trend that sees consumers buying fewer products and more experiences in areas such as high-end food and wine, luxury hotels and travel, the acquisition will boost LVMH’s existing hotel collection by a further 36 properties.

In addition to its current hotel collection, which comprises the Cheval Blanc hotels in Courchevel, the Maldives, Saint-Barthélemy and Paris and the Bulgari Hotel and Resorts, the Belmond deal will add the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Hotel Splendido in Portofino.

LVMH will also take over the ownership and operation of seven tourist trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman services as well as two river / canal cruise businesses; Belmond Afloat in France and Belmond Road to Mandalay.

Belmond Acquisition

In a statement released by LVMH, Chairman and Chief Executive Bernard Arnault said: ‘Belmond delivers unique experiences to discerning travellers and owns a number of exceptional assets in the most desirable destinations.’

‘Its heritage, its innovative services, its excellence in execution and its entrepreneurship resonates well with the values of the Group and is complementary to our own Cheval Blanc maisons and the Bvlgari hotels activities. This acquisition will significantly increase LVMH’s presence in the ultimate hospitality world.’

Speaking of the announcement, Belmond’s President and CEO Roeland Vos, said it is ‘the result of the strong execution of our strategic vision that builds on our pioneering legacy and is an exciting development for all stakeholders, including our employees.

‘We are confident that, as part of LVMH’s world-class family of brands, Belmond’s ability to deliver timeless, one-of-a-kind luxury experiences will reach new levels.’

With an equity value of $2.6 billion, and enterprise value of $3.2 billion, the transaction is LVMH’s largest since purchasing Bvlgari for $4.8 billion in 2011 and $7.3 billion for full control of Christian Dior in 2017. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

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