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The eco brief. LVMH invests in the champagne of American rapper Jay-Z


Bottles of “Armand de Brignac” champagne in a cellar in Chigny-les-Roses (Marne). (FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP)

In the midst of the rout of the global economy linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, business continues in the realm of luxury. The very classical and virtuoso pianist Bernard Arnault deals with the American rapper Jay-Z. It’s not about music, far from it, but about a “premium business”: crisis or not, you have to know how to sign at the right time.

Armand de Brignac is a champagne produced by the Cattier family, in the village of Rilly-la-Montagne, near Reims (Marne). A wine bought by Jay-Z in 2006 and built on the basis of three grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier. There is the content (the beverage) and the container (the bottle). This is the “bling-bling”, gilding and paiettes side of Jay-Z: the bottle of Armand de Brignac is metallic and opaque, characterized by an ace of spades. Another characteristic: the price, from 290 to 800 euros per bottle of 75 centilitres. This Champagne wine has attracted new customers in the United States, who do not hesitate to pay 280,000 dollars (230,000 euros) for a thirty-liter bottle.

This investment is being made despite the customs taxes introduced by former US President Donald Trump. Champagne is the only French wine not to be overtaxed by 25% by the American administration. However, the American market is the first outlet for the export sector. By taking over, via its subsidiary Moet-Henessy, 50% of Armand de Brignac from the American rapper, the French LVMH is adding a prestige brand to those it already owns (Moët-et-Chandon, Krug, Ruinart, Veuve Cliquot or Dom Pérignon). The amount of the transaction has not been disclosed, but Jay-Z promises that the adventure with Bernard Arnault will not end there. Other projects are underway, in greater secrecy for the moment.

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