But Tiffany faces other challenges as well.
Considered more accessible than rivals like Cartier and Bulgari, it has suffered from what critics say has been a generic design profile. Though the company has been known for limited collaborations with famous designers like Elsa Peretti and Paloma Picasso and the architect Frank Gehry, they had not had a single creative in charge since the brand’s founding family.
In 2017, in an attempt to create a stronger visual identity, Reed Krakoff, the former Coach creative director who briefly ran his own eponymous luxury ready-to-wear line, was named chief artistic officer, responsible for jewelry, luxury accessories and all imagery.
To update the jeweler’s somewhat bland image, he has since introduced an “Everyday objects” collection that included a $1,000 sterling silver tin can and a $9,000 sterling ball of yarn. He also introduced an ad campaign featuring Lady Gaga, who wore the brand’s historic 128-carat Tiffany Diamond on the red carpet at the 2019 Oscars.
For LVMH, whose market capitalization as of Friday was nearly $214 billion, adding Tiffany to its portfolio would give it critical mass in its hard luxury goods arm. The American jeweler would broaden out a group of brands that includes Bulgari, Chaumet, Fred, Hublot and Tag Heuer and make it immediately more competitive with Richemont, the Swiss luxury group with a focus on watches and jewelry.
It would also give LVMH its first major non-fashion American brand.
LVMH has been busy acquiring other companies as well: Last year, it spent about $2.6 billion to take over Belmond, a luxury hotel chain, and in 2017 it paid about $13 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Dior.
But the European conglomerate has had a mixed record with American acquisitions. Its ownership of Donna Karan from 2001 to 2015 was marked with difficulty, until it closed the label’s main line and sold its DKNY diffusion line to G-III. And it has had to shelve plans to take Marc Jacobs public, after playing up the prospects of that transaction in 2013.
LVMH has been seeking to raise its profile in America recently, however. Earlier this month, it opened a new factory in Texas for Louis Vuitton, its third in the United States.
Representatives for LVMH and Tiffany declined to comment on the proposal, which was reported earlier by Bloomberg.