EU clears LVMH takeover of luxury rival Bulgari

BRUSSELS, June 30, 2011 - European regulators gave LVMH, the world's top luxury retailer, approval on Thursday to take control of Italian rival Bulgari, creating a jewellery behemoth challenging Cartier and Tiffany.

The European Commission said the takeover would not "significantly alter the competitive structure" of the luxury business because Bulgari holds a small market share and LVMH would still face competition from several other companies.

"The investigation showed that the combined activities of LVMH and Bulgari do not give rise to high market shares under any plausible market definition," the European Union's competition watchdog said in a statement.

Moet Hennessy - Louis Vuitton Group (LVMH) announced in March that it was acquiring Bulgari for 4.3 billion euros ($6.2 billion).

The French luxury retailer will pay the Bulgari family 1.9 billion euros for their 51 percent holding and is making a public offer for the remainder of the shares.

LVMH already owns an impressive line-up of luxury brands in jewellery, handbags and clothes, including Moet Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, Donna Karan, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Tag Heuer, De Beers Diamond Jewellers

Bulgari jewels are worn by the likes of Sofia Loren, Tina Turner and Keira Knightley.

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