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LVMH boss says has no hand in activist Elliott targeting Pernod

LVMH boss says has no hand in activist Elliott targeting Pernod
FILE PHOTO: Bernard Arnault, Chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, delivers a speech at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, France, June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier   -   Copyright  BENOIT TESSIER(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – LVMH, owner of Moet & Chandon champagne and Hennessy cognac, does not want to destabilise Pernod Ricard and has nothing to do with activist investor Elliott buying a stake in the French spirits group, its Chairman and CEO said on Tuesday.

LVMH billionaire boss Bernard Arnault, who described relations with Pernod Ricard CEO Alexandre Ricard as “friendly, made the comments at a news conference on the luxury group’s annual results.

There has been media speculation that Pernod’ rivals like LVMH or Diageo could have their eyes on some of the brands of Pernod Ricard which is facing pressure from Elliott to bolster its profit margins.

U.S. activist fund Elliott said in December it had spent around 930 million euros (£809 million) to build a stake of just over 2.5 percent in the world’s second-biggest spirits maker.

Elliott has called on Pernod Ricard to raise profit margins to bring them more in line with larger rival Diageo and improve governance.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by John Irish)

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