Do Champagne and Luggage Mix?

The union of Moet and Vuitton goes through a shake-up

In corporate terms, it is the equivalent of a high-society marriage that has unexpectedly turned up in the gossip columns. Moet-Hennessy, the esteemed producer of champagne, Cognac and perfume, agreed in June 1987 to merge with Louis Vuitton, the equally upscale maker of luggage and handbags bearing the distinctive LV trademark. After the deal was signed, the top executives of the two French firms raised champagne glasses to toast their new creation, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, one of the world's largest luxury-goods conglomerates (projected 1988 revenues: $2.6 billion).

But no sooner had the company been formed than a struggle for...

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