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Updated January 28th, 2024 at 14:07 IST

Meet World's Richest Man Bernard Arnault, LVMH's Founder, With A Net Worth Of $207.6 Billion

The richest man in fashion is now the richest man in the world, surpassing Elon Musk. Who is this French billionaire?

Bernard Arnault becomes the richest man
Bernard Arnault becomes the richest man | Image:Bernard Arnault
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Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of global luxury goods company LVMH, which has under its umbrella brands like Louis Vuitton and Sephora, is now the richest man in the world. The French billionaire overtook Tesla CEO Elon Musk to go numero uno on the list.

What is Bernard Arnault’s net worth?

According to the real-time billionaire list published by Forbes, the fashion mogul has a net worth of 207.6 billion dollars, while Elon Musk places second with 207.6 billion net worth. Two Indians have also made it to the list, with Mukesh Ambani taking the 11th spot and Gautam Adani at the 16th spot.

Who is Bernard Arnault?

Born in Roubaix in France in 1949, Arnault graduated from the engineering school Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau. Hailing from the family that owned the industrial construction firm Ferret Savinel, he became CEO of his father’s business in 1978 before moving to the US in 198. He directed his father’s fortune in construction into taking over Boussac Saint-Freres in 1985, a bankrupt textile group for US$ 15 million. He sold most other subsidiaries of the group but retained the now iconic Christian Dior. With the money, Arnault bought a stake in LVMH, which had a merger of Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy in 1987.

Bernard Arnault | Image: Forbes

Eventually, Arnault turned LVMH into a luxury fashion enterprise selling Champagne, wine, spirits, fashion, leather goods, watches, jewellery, hotel stays, perfume and cosmetics through more than 5,500 stores worldwide. With his entrepreneurial mind, his business now stands at 207.6 billion dollars.

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What are the companies under LVMH?

Bernard Arnault oversees the LVMH empire of 75 fashion and cosmetics brands, including fashion brand Louis Vuitton and beauty brand Sephora. LVMH acquired American jeweler Tiffany & Co in 2021 for $15.8 billion. It is the biggest luxury brand acquisition ever.
Arnault's holding company Agache backs venture capital firm Aglaé Ventures, which has investments in businesses such as Netflix and TikTok parent company ByteDance.

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What do we know about Bernard Arnault’s family?

Bernard is a warm and family-oriented person. It is believed that he wooed his wife, Helene Mercier, a concert pianist, by playing classical composers on the piano. He has five children who all work at LVMH. A loving father as well as a smart businessman, in July 2022, he proposed a reorganisation of his holding company Agache to give them equal stakes. In a succession move on 25th January, Arnault nominated two more of his children to sit on LVMH’s board, which means four out of the five children will actively make decisions for the company.

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Published January 28th, 2024 at 13:50 IST

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