Arnault plans new assault on drinks merger

Bernard Arnault is poised to renew his campaign against the pounds 23bn merger between Grand Metropolitan and Guinness in the next few weeks. Mr Arnault, the head of French luxury goods group LVMH, plans to meet more investors of the two UK drinks companies in an attempt to gain enough support to block the merger.

LVMH owns more than 11 per cent of both GrandMet and Guinness and is the biggest shareholder in both groups. It needs 25 per cent of the shareholder vote to block a deal.

A spokesman for LVMH said: "Mr Arnault is going to meet GrandMet and Guinness shareholders over the next few weeks and months."

LVMH also confirmed that Mr Arnault had travelled to the US recently to meet institutional shareholders.

Industry sources suggest Mr Arnault will resume his attack on the merger after LVMH's financial results tomorrow. Guinness also announces its half-year results the same day.

The new offensive is likely to lead to another meeting between Mr Arnault, Tony Greener, the chairman of Guinness and George Bull, his counterpart at GrandMet. Mr Arnault is also believed to be drawing up new strategies to block the deal in the event that any new talks break down. "There is a lot going on behind the scenes but nothing we want to make public at the moment," the LVMH spokesman said.

Mr Arnault wants to force through a three-way merger between Moet Hennessy, LVMH's spirits arm, and IDV and United Distillers, the spirits businesses of GrandMet and Guinness respectively. Guinness and GrandMet are also facing difficulties in getting the merger past competition authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. The merged company, which will be called GMG Brands, is believed to be hatching plans to hive off some of their leading spirits brands in order to clear the deal with the European Commission.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn