Aletter sent to luxury goods group LVMH by the French foreign ministry requesting it delay its $16 billion(12.37 billion pounds) purchase of U.S. jeweler Tiffany to early January was not binding, a French government source said.
Earlier on Wednesday, LVMH said it was walking away from the acquisition following the French official request to complete the deal after Jan. 6 instead of by Nov. 24, adding it was obliged to comply with the demand and had no desire to extend the negotiations.
The letter, signed by Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, had a "political value" and was meant to alert LVMH to the risks of pursuing the deal just as France wrangles with the United States over trade tariffs, the source said.
"They are free to take the letter into account or not," the source said. According to a translated version of the letter released by Tiffany, Le Drian urged LVMH to take action, saying "you should defer the closing".
LVMH could not immediately be reached for comment.