News Louis Vuitton is finding that customers no longer buy handbags for the logo and is changing tack

Sales rebound in fourth quarter after a tough year for French luxury giant

LVMH takes Gucci battle to court

THE STRUGGLE for control of Gucci, the Italian luxury goods group, is set to move to the courtroom today with French rival Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) determined to use all means to pursue its pounds 3.1bn hostile bid.

LVMH trumps Pinault in battle for future of Gucci

THE BATTLE for control of Gucci took a dramatic turn yesterday when the Italian fashion house announced plans to sell a 40 per cent shareholding to Francois Pinault, the billionaire French businessman, in an attempt to fight off LVMH, the luxury goods group controlled by Bernard Arnault.

Outlook: Gucci/Pinault

BERNARD ARNAULT makes a strange convert to the game of cricket, but all of a sudden he's decided to play the game and make a proper offer to Gucci shareholders. For the best part of the past year, the urbane boss of LVMH, the champagne-to-suitcases group, has been trying to get his hands on Gucci by building a stake in the Italian fashion house and pressing for seats on its board. In Anglo Saxon markets this is regarded as trying to obtain control without having to pay for it, and it is just not done. Last night, Mr Arnault did what he should have done months ago and announced his intention to launch a full takeover bid for Gucci.

Gucci's rock chic hopes to roll LVHM

THE ITALIAN contingent put on a united front at the Gucci Show in Milan last night. The designer Donatella Versace and her brother, Santo, made a rare appearance in the front row, beside Domenico De Sole, Gucci's much-beleaguered chief executive officer.

LVMH hit by Gucci `poison pill'

THE BATTLE of the luxury goods giants reached a new intensity yesterday when Gucci, the Italian fashion house, moved to block an attempt by minority shareholder LVMH to gain control.

Racing: Danoli returns to linger in limelight

TWO YEARS ago, the chance to see Danoli run at a racecourse in Ireland would put thousands on to the attendance. Back in 1994, he put a hundred times as much into punters' pockets when he won the Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle. He opened fetes and received bagfuls of fan mail, like Desert Orchid and Red Rum rolled into a single, brave little Irish package, until the leg injury which almost killed him seemed to stop the bandwagon in its tracks.

Fashion: Bits and bobs

EVA SO USEFUL

Racing: Punters' Guide; The Toiseach gets vote of confidence

The former top jump jockey Steve Smith Eccles analyses today's Great Yorkshire Chase

Enter the back-to-front jacket as Galliano adds touch of surrealism

JOHN GALLIANO was in surrealistic mood at his haute couture show for Christian Dior in Paris yesterday. There were jewel-encrusted fastenings shaped like oversized eyes with clock faces for irises, suits with jackets worn back-to-front and even a Magritte painting lookalike escorting a model to her pedestal centre stage.

Arnault quits Diageo board

THE ANNOUNCEMENT yesterday by Bernard Arnault, chairman of Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), that he was resigning from the board of Diageo prompted a flurry of speculation that the French luxury goods group would now cut its 11 per cent stake in the British food and drinks giant.

Market Report: Fun and games mark the end of '98

TRADING MAY have been thin but the stock market indulged in some unusual fun and games in a final, mad 30 minutes on the last trading day of the year.

Hot gossip fails to warm up shares

Market Report

Racing: Reveley Free-for-all

MARY REVELEY's runners continued in brilliant form yesterday. A Catterick double with Jessica One and Free took her score to seven winners in three days.

Racing: Bradley's Fine Thyne

THE TOP WEIGHT, Senor El Betrutti will miss the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday and will instead run in the Jacky Upton Handicap Chase at the course the previous afternoon. Susan Nock, the grey's trainer, said yesterday: "We worked Senor El Betrutti yesterday and schooled him today. He is in very good form and going like a bomb.''

Racing: Yavana's Pace hurdle plans scrapped

Plans to send Yavana's Pace, the November Handicap winner, over hurdles this winter have been scrapped. Despite being quoted in some betting lists for the Champion Hurdle, owner John Kearney says the six-year-old will not now go jumping.
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