Baublicious! LVMH to Take Control of Bulgari

Never underestimate Bernard Arnault. The Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) honcho didn’t let a global scandale, the swift firing of a singular creative talent he has championed for more than a decade, and a court-ordered delay of his Frank Gehry-designed showplace deter him from his appointed dealmaking. At around the time John Galliano was being parodied on Saturday Night Live, Arnault was inking a megadeal—valued at around $6 billion—that will give LVMH a controlling interest in Bulgari. The Rome-based company, which posted 2010 revenues of €1.07 billion (approximately $1.48 billion, at current exchange), is best known for fine jewelry but in recent years has extended its brand into categories ranging from fragrances and handbags to hotels (next up: London) and flip-flops. The Bulgari family, which holds about 51% of the share capital, has agreed to transfer its majority share to LVMH in exchange for 16.5 million shares in the French luxury conglomerate, whose own portfolio of watches and jewelry brands includes TAG Heuer, Chaumet, and Hublot. LVMH has also launched a bid for the remaining Bulgari shares, which trade on the Milan Stock Exchange. Watch out, Hermès…