LVMH Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, the French drinks and luxury goods manufacturer, looks set to successfully disrupt one of the biggest mergers in British corporate history. Chairman Bernard Arnault, who is vehemently opposed to a mooted GBP24 billion (about HK$312 billion) merger between fast food and restaurants group Grand Metropolitan (GrandMet) and drinks manufacturer Guinness, is said to be preparing a final offensive that will win LVMH a role in the merger. As a 14.2 per cent shareholder in Guinness, and a 6.4 per cent shareholder in GrandMet, he has been urging a three-way merger. LVMH owns 66 per cent of Moet Hennessy and has several joint venture agreements with Guinness. On Monday, Mr Arnault announced his resignation as a board member at Guinness, and yesterday sources said he was now waiting for the British takeover panel for approval to launch his own proposals. The Guinness board is scheduled to meet today, when it is expected it will discuss the proposals which board members said they would always consider if it was deemed to create more shareholder value. Mr Arnault's plans are to set up a separate company, generating US$10 billion in sales, with a product range comprising Guinness's Gordon's Gin, and Johnnie Walker and Dewar's whisky with LVMH's Moet Chandon champagne and Hennessy cognacs, and GrandMet's Baileys, J&B and Gilbey's. It is understood that Mr Arnault wants a stake of between 30 and 35 per cent in the new company. Mr Arnault has been against the merger because it would mean that LVMH's 14.2 per cent stake in Guinness would end up as a small part of the new company, GMG Brands. Mr Arnault has spent more than eight billion French francs (about HK$10.21 billion) buying up a stake in GrandMet.