Louis Vuitton owner Bernard overtakes Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world
Bernard Arnault and his family, owners of French luxury group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), briefly overtook and dethroned Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest. Earlier this month, he overtook famed Tesla chief executive Elon Musk to become the second richest person in the world.
Arnault’s net worth has been estimated at $186.2 billion, according to Forbes. Over the past year and a half, Bernard Arnault’s net worth has increased by $110 billion, bringing his overall net worth to $161.2 billion. Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy is a symbol of luxury and it recorded a 32% annual increase in turnover to 14 billion euros in the first quarter of 2021.
LVMH Moët Hennessy — Louis Vuitton is a unique and diversified group, specializing in luxury goods, be it wine, champagne, leather goods, clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, watches, jewellery, etc. Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, Bulgari, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Moët & Chandon are some of the notable brands of the LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton group.
Earlier this year, LVMH acquired America’s largest jeweler Tiffany & Co. for $15.8 million, in the largest luxury fashion deal to date. Bernard Arnault’s LVMH oversees an empire of 70 brands including Givenchy, Guerlain, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Tiffany & Co., Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Loro Piana, Nicholas Kirkwood, Thomas Pink, RM Williams, EDUN, Moynat and Donna Karen, as well as a host of jewelry brands, including TAG Heuer, De Beers and Bulgari. Arnault holds a 96.5% stake in Christian Dior, which controls 41% of LVMH.
Bernard Arnault dared to go unconventional:
After obtaining an engineering degree in 1971, he joined his father’s company, Ferinel. In 1976, he convinced his father to liquidate the construction division of the company and focus on real estate. Developed a specialty in vacation accommodation. Bernard then became CEO in 1977 and succeeded his father as president of the company. In 1984, he took advantage of the success of Ferinel to buy the young textile company which owned the Christian Dior brand. He sold most of the companies’ assets and kept only the prestigious Christian Dior brand. He was able to leverage the sale of other parts of the business and the success of the Christian Dior revival to buy a majority stake in LVMH.
At the end of the 1980s, two major brands, Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy merged. Moët Hennessy is a renowned champagne producer. Bernard provided $1.5 billion, making him LVMH’s largest shareholder. In 1989, Bernard owned 43.5% of the company and was unanimously elected chairman of the board. LVMH has enjoyed stratospheric success. As a result, LVMH’s stock value skyrocketed along with Bernard’s net worth, helping him knock Bill Gates down from second place on the world’s rich list. Bernard’s wealth now represents more than 3% of the French economy and is expected to continue to grow. Bernard Arnault also invested in Netflix in 1999 and has a large portfolio of artworks.
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