French billionaire Bernard Arnault moved to consolidate control over Christian Dior for about 12.1 billion euros ($13.2 billion), folding the fashion house’s operations into the LVMH luxury empire in one of his biggest transactions.

The deal, in which the Arnault family is offering to buy out minority investors in Christian Dior SE for 260 euros a share and shedding some of its holdings in rival Hermes International, unites ownership of one of the most iconic fashion brands under one roof. That’s 15 percent above the Monday closing price of Dior, which the family already controls with a 74 percent stake.

The two-part transaction, which comes amid a China-led revival in the luxury-goods industry’s fortunes, simplifies a complicated ownership structure and crowns the career of the biggest consolidator in the business. Arnault, who has a net worth of $46.3 billion, took control of the parent companies of Dior and Louis Vuitton in the 1980s and later added brands ranging from fashion label Fendi to jeweler Bulgari and suitcase maker Rimowa.

In the latest deal, LVMH is taking over a fashion house whose voluminous “New Look” helped revive French haute couture in the postwar years and whose designers have ranged from Pierre Cardin to John Galliano, for 6.5 billion euros. LVMH, 47 percent controlled by the Arnault family, already owns Dior perfumes and beauty thanks to a 1960s-era transaction to raise capital for the then-troubled fashion brand.

 

Dior, whose look has been refreshed in recent decades by the likes of Galliano, Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane, already works closely with LVMH. The fashion house’s watches, for example, use movements made by LVMH’s Zenith brand, and Arnault said cooperation would increase after the deals.

Bringing the two companies under the same umbrella will ease Dior’s access to financing for stores and marketing as well as making it easier to move talent between the perfume and fashion arms, Arnault said. Dior Couture also owns prime real estate, including stores in Paris, London and Tokyo.

LVMH Synergies

“This is an operation that shows our confidence in the French economy as well as in LVMH going forward,” Arnault said at the press conference. “It will allow us to increase the synergies that already exist between LVMH and Christian Dior Couture.”

The deal will have little impact on Christian Dior’s eight production sites in France, said Sydney Toledano, the 65-year-old CEO of the fashion house, who has run it since 1998. Other LVMH-owned brands have also maintained control of their factories.

“As with creativity and product development, I believe that the Dior touch has to remain distinct in production,” Toledano told reporters.