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LVMH buys 50% share in Chateau Cheval Blanc

Luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy has bought a 50% stake in St-Emilion’s Château Cheval Blanc from its billionaire chairman and controlling shareholder, Bernard Arnault.

The deal also includes a 50% stake in Arnault’s company La Tour du Pin, which owns another St-Emilion domaine, Château Quinault L’Enclos. Financial details were not disclosed.

News of the transaction sent the share price of LVMH up more than 10% in early trading on Friday, with analysts speculating that it could signal an impending simplification of the French company’s complicated corporate structure.

It also led to a resurfacing of speculation over the future of UK drinks multinational Diageo’s 34% stake in LVMH. The French company denied reports in April that it might sell its Moët Hennessy drinks arm to the London-based company.

LVMH said the addition of the Premier Grand Cru Classé Cheval Blanc and the Grand Cru Classé Quinault would ‘complement the LVMH portfolio of super-premium wines’.

The company already dominates the Champagne market and owns a range of still wines, including Château d’Yquem, Cloudy Bay, Cape Mentelle and Terrazas.

Arnault, reputedly France’s richest man, bought Cheval-Blanc with Belgian businessman Albert Frère in 1998 for a reported €155m. The pair acquired Quinault last year for a rumoured sum of up to €10m.

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Written by Richard Woodard

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