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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

LVMH Sues Brokerage for $99.2M

PARIS -- Luxury goods leader LVMH said Tuesday it had launched a 100 million euro ($99.2 million) lawsuit against Morgan Stanley alleging bias in stock research, opening a new European dispute over possible investment banking conflicts of interest.

A person familiar with the suit, disclosed by Morgan Stanley, said LVMH alleged Morgan Stanley's research on the French company was unfair due to the investment bank's advisory relationship with rival retailer Gucci Group NV.

LVMH, whose brands range from Louis Vuitton leather goods to Moet & Chandon champagne, said it was seeking 100 million euros in damages, but gave no other details of the suit.

Morgan Stanley rejected LVMH's allegations in a legal disclaimer accompanying top luxury goods analyst Clare Kent's "Luxury Goods Weekly" report, published last Friday.

"LVMH is unhappy with Morgan Stanley's research and alleges unfair treatment. Morgan Stanley categorically rejects LVMH's claim and stands by the integrity of its research. Morgan Stanley intends to defend this suit vigorously," it said. Morgan Stanley issued a media statement to the same effect Tuesday and declined to comment further.

Kent downgraded her recommendation on LVMH to "neutral" from "outperform" in May 2000.

The stock has since halved in value to its Tuesday morning level of 45.54 euros and has marginally underperformed the Paris benchmark CAC-40 in that time

Morgan Stanley now rates LVMH as "equal weight."