LVMH says Tiffany acquisition 'cannot happen'

FILE PHOTO: A LVMH luxury group logo is seen prior to the announcement of their 2019 results in Paris, France, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Luxury goods group LVMH's LVMH.PA financial chief said on Wednesday it was no longer possible for the conglomerate to carry out its $16 billion acquisition of Tiffany TIF.N after the French government asked it to delay closure deadlines.

“The deal cannot happen. We are prohibited from closing the deal,” Financial Director Jean-Jacques Guiony told reporters on a conference call.

The purchase was due to be completed by Nov. 24, but LVMH said it was asked by the French foreign ministry, in an unsolicited letter, to delay completion until early January as part of leverage in trade talks with the United States.

Guiony, who said that LVMH had met with French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss the matter, added that the group had to comply with the government request but did not want to extend the completion deadline beyond Nov. 24, derailing the deal as a result.

Reporting by Sarah White, Silvia Aloisi and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Jan Harvey