French luxury goods retailer LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has filed a counter lawsuit against Tiffany & Co over its recent decision to walk away from its previously agreed-upon acquisition plan. LVMH announced on Tuesday that it will still stand behind its previously stated reasoning for canceling the $16.2 billion acquisition deal.
In the suit, which was filed in Delaware on Monday, LVMH stated that it was confident in its position in claiming that Tiffany & Co had not met the necessary conditions of their agreement, which had led to its decision to walk away. The company added that the "spurious" arguments brought out by Tiffany & Co were "completely unfounded."
LVMH originally announced its decision to back away from the deal in early September. During that time, the French conglomerate claimed that it was no longer able to continue with the acquisition given the changes to Tiffany & Co business and the wider business environment. LVMH also cited the recent threats made by the United States on French imports and Tiffany & Co's request to extend the deadline of the acquisition deal.
Following the cancelation announcement, Tiffany & Co immediately filed a lawsuit to enforce the agreement. In its suit, the jewelry chain claims that the decision and the requests made by the French government had no basis in law.
In its counter lawsuit, LVMH stated that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a "material adverse effect" on Tiffany & Co's and its business. It also added that Tiffany & Co had greatly mismanaged its business, which is a clear breach of its obligation under the previously signed agreement.
"Tiffany paid the highest possible dividends while the company was burning cash and reporting losses. No other luxury company in the world did so during this crisis. There are many examples of mismanagement detailed in the filing, including slashing capital and marketing investments and taking on additional debt," LVMH noted in a separate statement on Tuesday.
Tiffany & Co issued an immediate response to LVMH's statement, claiming that the French firm does not have any evidence to support its accusations of it breaching its obligations. The jewelry chain operator accused LVMH of only complaining about the dividend payments because it simply wanted the cash left in the company for itself.