LVMH wins EU clearance for Bulgari takeover

BRUSSELS, June 30 Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:45am BST

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BRUSSELS, June 30 (Reuters) - French luxury group LVMH (LVMH.PA) secured EU approval on Thursday for its 3.7-billion-euro ($5.24 billion) purchase of Italian peer Bulgari BULG.MI to boost its presence in emerging markets.

The acquisition will help LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton handbags, improve margins and better compete with bigger watch and jewellery companies Richemont (CFR.VX) and Swatch (UHR.VX).

The companies announced the deal in March. [ID:nLDE72606B]

The European Commission, the EU competition watchdog, said the deal would not have a negative impact on the market.

"The investigation showed that the combined activities of LVMH and Bulgari do not give rise to high market shares under any plausible market definition," the Commission said in a statement.

($1=.7062 Euro) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Rex Merrifield)