French fashion tycoon Bernard Arnault has today crept ahead of Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man as his net worth climbed to $186.3billion.
The chief executive of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) saw his luxury goods firm stock increase by 0.4 per cent during the first hours of trading on Monday.
The rise pushed Arnault’s personal stake up by more than $600million and placed LVMH’s market cap at $320billion, according to Forbes.
French fashion tycoon Bernard Arnault (pictured), 72, has today crept ahead of Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man after his net worth climbed to $186.3billion
The chief executive of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) saw his luxury goods firm rise by 0.4 per cent (pictured) during the first few hours of trading on Monday
Arnault’s overall net worth has jumped to $186.3billion, reportedly seeing him edge past Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is worth $186billion, by ‘only’ $300million in the world’s rich list.
The eye-watering fortunes topping the billionaire list are composed primarily of stock holdings, meaning that their values fluctuate daily with changes in the market.
Arnault, 72, has seen his fortune jump more than $110million in the past 14 months thanks to his French luxury goods firm LVMH, which owns the likes of Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior and Givenchy.
The rise has seen reportedly seen Arnault’s net worth jump to $186.3billion, placing him $300million above Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (pictured), who is worth $186billion
It comes just days after Arnault pushed Elon Musk (pictured), worth $147.3billion, out of his spot as the world’s second richest man after Tesla’s share price sank
In January, LVMH made a huge luxury fashion business deal after acquiring Tiffany & Co., while Arnault then promoted his son to leadership of the American jeweler.
Arnault’s fortune has jumped from just $76billion in March last year to $186.3billion as his luxury goods cooperation has profited despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
How Bernard Arnault made his billions
Arnault was born in France into the world of business and began his lucrative luxury career in 1971, working for the family real estate company Ferret-Savinel.
He was promoted to chairman in 1978, and remained in that role until 1984 when he was tasked with restructuring the Financière Agache holding company.
Within this role the father-of-five strategised on developing leading luxury brands, acquiring Christian Dior as the spearhead of the new business.
LVMH was formed in 1987 under the merger of Louis Vuitton and champagne producer Moët Hennessy.
In 1989 Arnault became the majority shareholder of LVMH Moët Hennessy, a role he has held ever since.
His prestigious portfolio includes fashion labels such as Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and FENTY, luxury wines and spirits and champagne and wine brands, and perfumes and cosmetics.
LVHM spent $3.2billion in 2019 on luxury hospitality group Belmond and acquired Tiffany & Co. for $15.8million in January.
The company website says the LVHM model is ‘based on a long-term vision’ which ‘stimulates creativity and excellence.’
The company has around 163,000 employees and reported more than $58billion-worth of revenue in 2019.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk has dropped out of his spot as the world’s second richest man after his fortune sank by $3.16 billion last week, to $160.6billion.
The drop marked a 24 per cent decline from its January high, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index.
Arnault’s rise in fortune comes after he acquired Tiffany & Co. for $15.8million in January.
After the purchase, the fashion tycoon promoted his son to the leadership team of the jewelry maker in January.
Alexandre Arnault, 29, left his previous role as CEO of Rimowa, which is also owned by LVMH, to become executive vice president at Tiffany & Co., in charge of product and communication.
Alexandre will work under Michael Burke, chairman and CEO at Louis Vuitton, the group’s biggest money spinner, who will now also chair Tiffany & Co. Anthony Ledru, head of Louis Vuitton in the US, will take over as CEO of the jeweller.
Sharing the news on Instagram earlier this year, Alexandre, who was born in France but is fluent in English, wrote: ‘Humbled, honored to join @tiffanyandco and excited to work with the teams in New York!’
LVMH’s acquisition of Tiffany & Co. followed a bitter legal dispute. LVMH backed away as the COVID-19 pandemic hammered luxury goods sales, but ultimately renegotiated a discounted purchase price.
Bernard, who has five children from two marriages, has given senior LVMH roles to his four oldest children. Youngest son Jean, 23, is still a student.
Only daughter Delphine, 45, is director and executive vice president of Louis Vuitton; eldest son Antoine, 43, who married Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova last year, is CEO of Berluti and oversees image, communications and the environment for LVMH; and third son Frédéric, 26, is CEO of Tag Heuer.
Each appointment is closely watched for signs of who their billionaire father might one day appoint as his successor.
‘Bernard Arnault is building a fair process between the Arnault siblings by testing them,’ Philippe Pele-Clamour, adjunct professor at business school HEC Paris, previously told Bloomberg. ‘That will allow them to understand if they can lead such a group.’
Top 10 wealthiest people on Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index
1. Bernard Arnault (France) – $186.3Billion; chief executive of luxury goods firm LVMH
2. Jeff Bezos (U.S.) – $186Billion; Amazon founder and CEO
3. Elon Musk (U.S.) – $160.6Billion; Tesla’s chief executive
4. Bill Gates (U.S.) – $144Billion; Microsoft founder
5. Mark Zuckerberg (U.S.) – $118Billion; Facebook chief executive
6. Warren Buffett (U.S.) – $109Billion; Investor and business tycoon
7. Larry Page (U.S.) – $105Billion; Co-founder of Google, controlling shareholder
8. Sergey Brin (U.S.) – $101Billion; Co-founder of Google, controlling shareholder
9. Larry Ellison (U.S.) – $91.1Billion; Chairman, chief technology officer and cofounder of software giant Oracle
10. Steve Ballmer (U.S.)- $88.7Billion; Former CEO of Microsoft
Bloomberg data as of May 17