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Orient Express sold to owner of Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton

LVMH acquires Venice’s Hotel Cipriani and Hotel Splendido in Portofino as part of £2.5bn deal The Orient Express has been sold to LVMH, the French luxury goods company that already owns Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Moët & Chandon champagne, as part of a $3.2bn (£2.5bn) deal that also includes the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Hotel Splendido in Portofino and 44 other deluxe hotels around the world.LVMH, which is run by France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, announced on Friday it had agreed a takeover of Belmond, the British company that runs the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Royal Scotsman as well as high-end river cruises and hotels across 24 countries. Continue reading...

The Orient Express has been sold to LVMH, the French luxury goods company that already owns Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Moët & Chandon champagne, as part of a $3.2bn (£2.5bn) deal that also includes the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Hotel Splendido in Portofino and 44 other deluxe hotels around the world.

LVMH, which is run by France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, announced on Friday it had agreed a takeover of Belmond, the British company that runs the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Royal Scotsman as well as high-end river cruises and hotels across 24 countries.

The acquisition is part of LVMH’s drive to expand into unique luxurious experiences to compliment its luxury goods brands, including Marc Jacobs, Céline, Givenchy and Dom Pérignon. LVMH already owns a string of high-end hotels including the Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, which has been a firm favourite of the fashion industry movers and shakers since the 1850s.

Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and chief executive who has an estimated $60bn fortune, said: “Belmond delivers unique experiences to discerning travellers and owns a number of exceptional assets in the most desirable destinations. Its heritage, its innovative services, its excellence in execution and its entrepreneurship resonates well with the values of the group and is complementary to our own Cheval Blanc maisons and the Bvlgari hotels activities. This acquisition will significantly increase LVMH’s presence in the ultimate hospitality world.”

Belmond began by buying the legendary Hotel Cipriani in Venice in 1976. A year later the company started collecting carriages from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express – made world famous by Agatha Christie in her novel Murder on the Orient Express. In 1982, the company relaunched the high-end rail service from London to Venice with the original 1920s and 30s carriages.

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The company now also runs the British Pullman, the Royal Scotsman, the Grand Hibernian in Ireland, the Andean Explorer in Peru, and the Eastern & Oriental Express between Bangkok and Singapore.

Belmond also owns New York’s “21” Club, a Manhattan restaurant popular with Donald Trump and the US Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin. It also owns the only hotel near Machu Picchu and safari camps in Botswana.

Roeland Vos, Belmond’s chief executive, said: “We are confident that, as part of LVMH’s world-class family of brands, Belmond’s ability to deliver timeless, one-of-a-kind luxury experiences will reach new levels.”

LVMH will pay $25 a share for Belmond, a 42% premium on the share’s closing price on Thursday.

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