Tiffany & Co. vs. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is going to be decided sooner rather than later.
The American jeweler — which LVMH is trying to leave at the alter — won its bid for an expedited trial, although the process won’t be quite as speedy as it wanted.
Judge Joseph R. Slights 3rd, Vice Chancellor of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, heard from both sides in a digital hearing Monday and scheduled a four-day trial to start Jan. 5 — early enough to settle the case and allow for an appeal before U.S. regulatory approval for the $16.2 billion acquisition expires Feb. 23.
Tiffany was pushing for a trial in November, while LVMH wanted the case heard in March or April.
But Slights seemed to be holding out at least some hopes that the case could work itself out without the court’s help.
“Perhaps there can be some productive discussions that can happen sooner than later that can be concluded to avoid litigation,” he said after making his ruling.
If the case does come to trial, it promises to spark more fireworks in what has already been a vigorous back and forth.
LVMH chief Bernard Arnault could be deposed in the case and asked if he, as some media outlets have reported, pressured the French government to help give the French group an out to the deal, which the firm initially said it was dropping because of a U.S.-France trade dispute.
“The court cannot make decisions based on news reports, but we look forward to exploring this issue in depth with Mr. Arnault in his deposition in this case,” said Tiffany’s attorney Rick Pepperman, of Sullivan & Cromwell.
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