This Week, Tapestry Takes on the FTC; Politics Threaten to Intrude on the Met Gala


After the US Federal Trade Commission moved to block Tapestry’s acquisition of Capri, Tapestry chief executive Joanne Crevoiserat went on an impromptu media tour. In one representative quote, she told The New York Times “it’s quite clear to us that they don’t understand how consumers shop today and they don’t understand the dynamics of a marketplace with no barriers to entry, constant influx of new competitors.” Many within the fashion industry, as well as some outside observers, agree (a popular theory is that FTC chair Lina Khan knows she’s unlikely to succeed in blocking deals like this, but the lawsuit threat alone will cause others to think twice before pursuing mega mergers).

Of course, Tapestry has a legal obligation to defend the deal in court as part of its merger agreement with Capri, and will no doubt do so again when executives speak to analysts on Thursday after releasing quarterly results. But, as Bernstein analyst Aneesha Sherman pointed out in a recent note, there’s plenty of wiggle room for Tapestry to walk away if it decides Michael Kors isn’t worth picking a fight with the US government. Language requiring “reasonable best efforts” to defend the deal isn’t as strict as other mergers. And either party can walk away if the deal’s closing is delayed past February 2025; with the FTC’s first hearing scheduled for September, that’s entirely possible.

There’s no reason to believe Tapestry actually wants to walk away; the company is riding high on its successful turnaround at Coach, and believes it can work the same magic at Capri’s struggling brands. But how the deal is discussed on the earnings call Thursday will be very carefully parsed.

Meanwhile, on the Upper East Side

This year’s Met Gala is feeling a little… cursed is too strong a word, but perhaps unlucky? Vogue and the Costume Institute couldn’t have predicted when they chose TikTok as lead sponsor in February that legislation to ban the app would suddenly pick up momentum again. The event is also a shiny target for unionised Condé Nast employees, who are at an impasse with the company over their first contract. And it’s a rare high-profile event these days that doesn’t draw pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The odds any of this intrudes on the event itself remain low; picketers can be cordoned off, and brands have seen no blowback from working with TikTok since the clock started ticking on a potential ban.

The union is more of a wild card. Union organisers say they’re “ready to strike,” but haven’t specified any action around the Met Gala specifically. A work stoppage on Monday would effectively force attendees to pick a side just by walking up the steps. Anne Hathaway memorably walked off a Vanity Fair photo shoot in January in solidarity with the Condé Nast union’s work stoppage, and celebrities canceled appearances and spoke out in support of the writer’s strike last year.

It wouldn’t be the first time real world events intrude on the Met Gala bubble (including two years ago when the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade leaked just as Kim Kardashian was arriving on the red carpet). Still, the star power almost always overshadows everything else. This year will put that to the test.

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