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Van Cleef & Arpels Says It's Positively Not For Sale

Van Cleef & Arpels said Friday that the Arpels family intends to hold on to its 100 percent stake in the Paris-based firm.

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PARIS -- Van Cleef & Arpels said Friday that the Arpels family intends to hold on to its 100 percent stake in the Paris-based firm.


The announcement follows months of speculation that luxury giant LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton was contemplating a bid for the prestigious jewelry and watch company.


Van Cleef & Arpels has "discontinued all discussions with interested parties," the announcement said, but it named no prospective suitors.


"We'd like to make clear that the shareholders, which are exclusively made up of Arpel family members, don't intend to accept any offers for the company," added Ferdinand Ripoll, chief executive officer of Van Cleef & Arpels. "There have been quite a few press reports referring to negotiations and a possible sale. This is a simple statement to clear things up."


Founded in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels is totally owned by 20 members of the Arpels family. Jacques Arpels, the 80-year-old head of the family, is president.


Rumors that LVMH was about to buy the jeweler intensified in May after the luxury conglomerate bought perfume house Guerlain SA. LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault had previously made clear his desire to acquire a jewelry and watch company, the one important luxury sector in which LVMH does not have a strong presence.


However, last month at the annual shareholders' meeting of LVMH, Arnault specifically denied that group was about to make any further acquisitions.


"One of the nice things with our group is that the prospectus of every company that's on sale ends up on our desk. But you can't buy everything, and we aren't holding talks with anyone right now," he said.


According to figures reported to the government, Van Cleef & Arpels earned a net profit of $4.6 million (24.8 million francs) at current exchange, on sales of $38.4 million (207.3 million francs) last year.


"The family has made clear today that it will be at the center of the Van Cleef & Arpels' future," Ripoll said.

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