May 1, 2009
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Tiffany buys bankrupt Lambertson Truex handbag company

May 1, 2009

By Martinne Geller

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) said on Friday it is buying bankrupt U.S. handbag maker Lambertson Truex as the high-end jeweler seeks to expand its array of leather goods.

Detail of a Lambertson Truex bag

Handbag designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex have already joined Tiffany, where they will "explore the development of a collection of handbags and leather accessories to complement the current assortment available at Tiffany," said Tiffany spokesman Mark Aaron.

Aaron declined to give financial terms of the deal.

News of the acquisition was earlier reported by trade paper Women's Wear Daily.

Tiffany, known for its jewelry and distinctive light-blue boxes, already sells a few leather items, including tote bags and passport holders.

Aaron declined to discuss how the new bags would be branded or the future of the Lambertson Truex boutique on New York's Madison Avenue, saying it was too early.

Lambertson Truex bags are also sold at department stores including Bloomingdale's (M.N) and Saks Fifth Avenue (SKS.N).

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March after the economic downturn reduced demand for luxury goods. At that time, Lambertson said it was formed in 2006 when Samsonite Corp CMERNS.UL invested in it and took a majority stake in the business, along with a "significant amount" of debt.

Tiffany shares were down 2 percent at $28.36 in early afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Derek Caney and Brian Moss)

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