French holding company, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, increased its stake in Hermes International SCA to over 20 percent, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Utilizing off- and on-market transactions, the luxury goods group crossed the threshold of 20 percent of Hermes holding around 21.33 million shares.
The increased stake raised speculations in the market over a possible take-over strategy by LVMH although the group reiterated otherwise.
Earlier this year, on October 23, the luxury group announced the acquisition of around 15.01 million shares, representing 14.2 percent of the share capital of the company. This was followed by an addition of around three million shares due to a derivative instrument contract on October 26, raising the share value to a total of 18.01 million.
Although the company stated that it had no intention of taking control or seeking board representation in Hermes, the current stake increase is boosting speculation that LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault is planning for a gradual takeover.
This move by LVMH has yet to get approval by the French markets regulator, the AMF (L'Autorité des marches financiers).
The regulator is investigating LVMH's surreptitious purchase of Hermes shares since 2008, some through the use of derivative instruments known as equity swaps, which allowed the group to avoid having to declare them.