French fashion tycoon Bernard Arnault and his family, who jointly own the Luxury conglomerate of the Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessy (LVMH) — the world’s most valuable fashion luxury goods company, have grabbed the world’s richest title from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of $186.2 billion according to Forbes.
How Bernard Arnault became the world’s richest man.
Arnault spent $538 million dollars in recent months acquiring shares of his own French label brand controlled by him and his family. He had overtaken the world’s second-richest person Elon Musk — SpaceX and Tesla owner, after reporting a first-quarter revenue of €14 billion in 2021, which surged by 32% as compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Also, in January 2021, LVMH made the largest luxury fashion business deal by acquiring America’s largest jewelry maker Tiffany & Co. for $15.8 million.
The fashion conglomerate recorded a revenue of €44.7 billion in 2020, a downfall in sales growth by 17%. The fashion group also witnessed a decline in organic revenue by 16% in 2020, as compared to 2019 due to the serious health crisis which resulted in closure of the group’s stores and manufacturing sites in most countries over a period of several months.
The world’s ultimate taste-maker oversees an empire of 70 brands including Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Tiffany & Co, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Christian Dior, Givenchy which are independently managed and operated under the LVMH umbrella.
LVMH, which also owns hyped up fashion brand names like Fendi, Christian Dior and Givenchy, rose 0.4% during the first hours of trading on Monday, putting its market cap at $320 billion and pushing Arnault’s personal stake up by more than $600 million.
A rise in European fashion houses.
LVMH and Arnault represent the remarkable rise of Europe’s luxury and fashion houses during the lockdown.
Pushed by the “momentum” of shoppers in China, according to Jefferies analyst Flavio Cereda, LVMH recorded revenue of $17 billion for the first quarter of 2021, up 32% compared to the same period in 2020.
In the period from March 18 2020 to Monday, the net worth of rival François Pinault, whose Kering Group owns luxury brands Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Gucci, rose from $27 billion to $55.1 billion. At Chanel (which is not publicly traded) brothers Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer, the grandsons of founder Pierre Wertheimer, are now worth $35 billion, more than double their net worth of $17 billion in 2020. Even Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder, enjoyed a nearly $40 billion bump, to $87.8 billion Monday.
Since the start of the pandemic, the net worths of the world’s richest people have fluctuated wildly, with many jumping by billions. Elon Musk briefly became the world’s richest person in the world in January 2021, when his net worth hit $189.7 billion. That represented an astonishing $165 billion gain since March 2020, when he was worth $24.6 billion.