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REFILE-Richemont shares rise after report it rejected Kering's approach

(Refiles to clarify nature of Miss Tweed publication)

MILAN, March 22 (Reuters) - Shares in Cartier owner Richemont rose on Monday after an online fashion publication reported that it had been approached by French luxury goods group Kering for a potential merger in January, but rejected the informal offer.

Paris-based Miss Tweed, which specialises in fashion and luxury, wrote late on Sunday that a cash and shares proposal to merge had been made directly by Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault to Richemont chairman and controlling shareholder Johann Rupert.

It said that Rupert was unsatisfied with the terms and did not submit them to Richemont’s board.

Representatives for Kering and Richemont declined to comment on the report.

Richemont’s shares were 3.8% higher by 1026 GMT in an otherwise flat Swiss stock market, while Kering’s shares fell 1.4%.

Rumours about a possible tie-up between Richemont and Gucci owner Kering have been circulating for years but have gathered steam in recent months after LVMH’s takeover of U.S. jeweller Tiffany put pressure on rivals to scale up.

Asked about the rumours in February, Pinault told reporters: “It’s a group that we know well, it’s one of our partners that gave us a licence for their eyewear so we are in regular contact. But it’s a group that is controlled by a family, as is Kering, and there is nothing else on this matter.”

Pinault said then that Kering was in a strong position, both in terms of financial bandwidth and know-how, to potentially acquire and integrate a big target if the right opportunity arose, although he added that the priority was to focus on organic growth.

UBS said in a note on Monday that a deal between Kering and Richemont would make sense from a strategic point of view and create a luxury powerhouse capable of challenging LVMH’s dominance in the market.

“Combining the two mega brands of the soft and hard luxury industry, Gucci and Cartier, could address the perceived higher fashion risk of Kering and the perception of mismanagement of Richemont’s smaller brands in its portfolio,” it said.

Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Additonal reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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