Luxury goods company Hermès International has today (1 April) confirmed that bidders are circling for its stake in fashion label Jean-Paul Gaultier.

"Hermès has received an expression of interest from potential buyers in its 45% stake in the Jean-Paul Gaultier company. Discussions have been initiated," the company said in a statement.

Rival luxury group LVMH announced late last year it had built up a 17.1% stake in Hermès itself.

Earlier last year fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier revealed he was stepping down as artistic director of women's ready-to-wear at Hermès to concentrate on his own projects instead.

He was later named head of the board for the Jean Paul Gaultier couture and ready-to-wear houses.

Gaultier owns a 55% stake in the company, with the remaining 45% held by Hermès.