Nicolas Puech owns around 5% - 6% of Hermes.
The billionaire grandson of Hermes founder Thierry Hermes is reportedly planning to adopt his 51-year-old gardener and leave him a $11 billion fortune. Citing Swiss publication Tribune de GeneveFortune reported that 80-year-old Nicolas Puech is in the process of making his "former gardener and handyman" his legal child. Notably, Mr Puech is a fifth-generation heir of Thierry Hermes, who founded the luxury fashion house in 1837. He is unmarried and childless and owns around 5% - 6% of the company, worth between 9 billion and 100 billion Swiss francs (between $10.3 billion and $11.4 billion).
According to Fortune, the 80-year-old is now in the process of passing on the wealth to his former gardener. He has reportedly hired a legal team to take him through the process. He is also in the process of rearranging the benefactors of his estate.
The unnamed gardener, who is married to a Spanish woman with two children, now stands to inherit a significant share of Mr Peuch's wealth. Italian outlet Sky TG24 reported that the 80-year-old had already handed the man the keys to a property in Marrakesh, Morocco, and a villa in Montreux, Switzerland, worth a combined total of $5.9 million.
According to Fortune, the move comes as part of a broader effort by Mr Puech to reshape the beneficiaries of his substantial estate, estimated at around 5% or 6% ownership of the $220 billion-valued Hermes.
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In 2014, Mr Peuch quit the company's supervisory board in acrimonious circumstances after fashion rival LVMH acquired 23% of Hermes as part of a hostile takeover bid, largely by stealth. While his other family members set up a holding company with their shares to block a takeover by LVMH, Mr Puech held on to his stake. This feud with the family members appears to have influenced Mr Puech's unconventional choice of heir.
However, Mr Puech also faces challenges in realising his plan. According to ch.ch, adult adoptions, particularly in Switzerland where he resides, are rare and subject to complex requirements. An adult can adopt another adult if they lived together for at least a year when the adoptee was still a minor.