LVMH acquires majority stake in Rimowa for €640 million

LVMH has agreed to buy 80 percent of Rimowa, a maker of high-end suitcases, for €640 million ($716 million). The luxury goods giant is buying the stake from Dieter Morszeck, the grandson of the founder, it said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the deal is expected to be completed in January next year.

“Rimowa is a brand with a unique heritage. We share with Dieter Morszeck the same passion for innovation and a common desire to offer high quality products from a European tradition of craftsmanship,” said LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault in a statement.

Cologne-based Rimowa, founded in 1898, is known for making the first aluminium suitcase, which has a recognisable design of parallel grooves. Its more recent products include a suitcase with an electronic tag in it that can communicate to the owner’s mobile phone via Bluetooth technology.

Rimowa’s sales are expected to exceed €400 million this year, the company said. Alexandre Arnault, the son of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, will become co-chief executive officer of Rimowa alongside Morszeck, who retains his 20 percent stake in the company.

“Over the past two years, I had the opportunity to establish close ties with the Arnault family and especially Alexandre,” said Morszeck in a statement. “Alexandre and I talked a lot about the attractive development prospects available to us and the common values that we share. I am very happy that he is joining Rimowa and I have every confidence in its ability to accelerate the current development with me.”

“This is an official document for an important acquisition and there is a statement of Alexandre, so it would be interesting see what will be the role of Alexandre now going forward in the group in time,” he says.