France's Elysee Palace asked minister to pen LVMH/Tiffany letter - sources

PARIS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - France’s Elysee Palace asked Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to send LVMH a letter advising the luxury goods group to defer its acquisition of U.S. jeweller Tiffany, according to two sources familiar with the discussions inside the government about the letter.

LVMH’s $16 billion purchase of Tiffany has hit the rocks after the French conglomerate said it could not complete the deal by a Nov. 24 deadline.

LVMH cited, in part, an official foreign ministry request to delay closing the deal to January amid trade tensions with the United States. The letter requesting the delay was signed by Le Drian, according to U.S. legal filings by Tiffany and LVMH.

According to the two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Elysee Palace, Macron’s office, had asked Le Drian to produce the letter.

The Elysee declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the foreign ministry referred enquiries to a representative of Le Drian’s, who did not immediately reply.

Asked by Reuters about any interactions between the Elysee Palace and the foreign ministry over the letter, LVMH did not directly address the question.

An LVMH spokesman repeated previous statements denying the company had solicited the letter, and said reports that it did were malicious rumours. “We formally deny these unfounded rumours,” he said, referring to reports of LVMH playing a role in the letter. (Reporting by Michel Rose, Gwenaelle Barzic, John Irish, Elizabeth Pineau, Sarah White and Leigh Thomas Editing by Christian Lowe)