LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton S.A., usually shortened to LVMH, is a French holding company and the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate. It is the parent of around 60 sub-companies that each manage a small number of prestigious brands. These daughter companies are, to a large extent, run autonomously. The group was formed after mergers brought together champagne producer Moët et Chandon and Hennessy, a leading manufacturer of cognac. In 1987, they merged with fashion house Louis Vuitton to form the current group. Christian Dior, the luxury goods group, is the main holding company of LVMH, owning 42.38% of its shares, and 59.3% of its voting rights. Bernard Arnault, majority shareholder of Dior, is Chairman of both companies and CEO of LVMH. His successful integration of various famous aspirational brands into the group has inspired other luxury companies into doing the same. Thus Gucci (now part of the French conglomerate PPR) and Richemont have also created extended portfolios of luxury brands. The oldest of the LVMH brands is wine producer Château d'Yquem, which dates its origins back to 1593.
LVMH is based in Paris, France. The company is listed on the Euronext Paris exchange, and is a constituent of the CAC 40 index. As of 2010, the group had revenues of €20.3 billion with a net income of just over €3 billion. The group currently employs more than 83,000 people. 30% of LVMH's staff work in France. LVMH operates over 2,400 stores worldwide. Its current business plan aims to tightly control the brands it manages in order to maintain and heighten the perception of luxury relating to their products. For example, Louis Vuitton products are sold only through Louis Vuitton boutiques found in upmarket locations in wealthy cities or in concessions in other luxury goods shops (such as Harrods in London). This practice contrasts greatly with less exclusive brands which can be bought in shopping malls around the world.
At the end of 2009, the only declared major shareholder in LVMH was Groupe Arnault, the family holding company of Bernard Arnault. The group's control amounted to 47.38% of LVMH's stock (with 42.38% held through Christian Dior S.A. and 5.00% held directly) and 63.64% of its voting rights (59.32% by Dior and 4.32% directly). A further 3.28% of shares were declared as treasury stock, with the remainder being free float. LVMH hold 66% of the drinks division, Moét Hennessy, with the remaining 34% held by Diageo.