June 16, 2021

How Bernard Arnault became, a few hours, the richest man in the world!

Bernard Arnault |
The French luxury magnate becomes the richest person in the world on Pentecost Monday. | Source: Getty Images

LVMH CEO French Bernard Arnault is now the richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $ 186.3 billion, which puts him $ 300 million above Jeff Bezos ($ 186 billion $), and above Elon Musk ($ 147.3 billion).

The fortune of the French luxury giant rose from $ 76 billion in March 2020 to $ 186.3 billion on Whit Monday, a colossal increase of more than $ 110 billion in recent months, the performance of its LVMH group (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) having accelerated despite the health crisis.

The LVMH group, which also owns famous brands like Fendi, Christian Dior and Givenchy, has seen its value increase by 0.4% in recent hours, bringing its market capitalization to $ 320 billion and increasing Arnault’s personal stake from over $ 600 million.

Containment and the European luxury market

The LVMH group and Bernard Arnault are the symbol of the remarkable rise in power of European luxury and fashion houses during the confinement. According to Jefferies analyst Flavio Cereda, driven by the “momentum” of buyers in China, LVMH recorded sales of $ 17 billion in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 32% compared to the same period in 2020.

Over the period from March 18, 2020 to Monday May 24, the net worth of his rival, François Pinault, whose Kering Group owns the luxury brands Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Gucci, rose from $ 27 billion to 55.1 billion. billions of dollars. At Chanel (unlisted), brothers Alain Wertheimer and Gérard Wertheimer, grandsons of founder Pierre Wertheimer, are now worth $ 35 billion, more than double their net worth of $ 17 billion in 2020. Even Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oréal, enjoyed a hike of nearly $ 40 billion, to reach $ 87.8 billion on Monday.

Europe in first place

Over the years, the top of the billionaire ranking Forbes was largely dominated by the Americans, the latter often taking first place in the standings like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. Only Mexican Carlos Slim disrupted this dominance for some time.

For many years in the early 2000s, the wealthiest Europeans were the founders of Aldi, Theo and Karl Albrecht. The latter entered the top 10 but never managed to take first place. Bernard Arnault made his entry into the top 10 in 2005, with a fortune of $ 13 billion. The luxury mogul has been in the top 5 since 2018 and last year he was 11e of the rank. He became the third richest person in the world in 2019, with a fortune of $ 76 billion. He even passed Jeff Bezos to briefly become the richest person in the world on December 16, 2019. Amazon stock then eventually closed higher, pushing the French mogul back to second place.

Since the start of the pandemic, the net values ​​of the world’s richest people have fluctuated sharply, and many have jumped into the billions. Elon Musk briefly became the richest person in the world in January 2021, when his net worth reached $ 189.7 billion. This was an astonishing gain of $ 165 billion since March 2020, when it was worth $ 24.6 billion.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: David Dawkins

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