MERGERS: This Bubbly Travels Well

This Bubbly Travels Well

For generations, handmade Louis Vuitton luggage and Moet-Hennessy's classic Dom Perignon champagne -- now about $1,830 for a suitcase and $50 a bottle -- have been fixtures in castles and mansions everywhere. In 1986 Moet- Hennessy sold $1.34 billion worth of champagne and other luxury goods, while Louis Vuitton rang up $291 million. Last week the two French firms, which are still family controlled, announced plans for a merger.

Company spokesmen said the new, bigger firm will be better able to avoid a takeover. Said Moet-Hennessy Chairman Alain Chevalier, who will head it: "It was like one of those love affairs...