Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who was deemed the world’s richest person by Forbes real-time billionaires, is no longer that as his position has been taken by Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The Forbes list keeps track of the world’s richest people every day. Mr. Arnault, who has celebrated his 72nd birthday recently, oversees an empire of 70 brands that includes Louis Vuitton and Sephora. His net worth today is $198.2 according to the infamous Forbes list. Although this list is dynamic and so subject to change. Arnault had earlier also been regarded the same title in December 2019, January 2020, May 2021, and July 2021. While Bezos stood at the second pedestal with a net worth of $194.9 billion followed by Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk standing at $185.5 billion.
LVMH — home to Louis Vuitton, Moet, Fendi, and Kenzo brands among other famous ones — saw first-half sales climb by 11 percent above their pre-pandemic level to 28.7 billion euros ($34.1 billion) as it reported a profit of 5.3 billion euros a huge 64 percent increase from 2019. Amazon stock cratered 7.6 percent on Friday after the company reported second-quarter earnings. Bernard spent $538 million dollars in the last few months, making shares of his personal French label brand under his family. He surpassed the Space X and Tesla owner Musk when the company reported first-quarter revenue of €14 billion in 2021, which rose by 32 percent as compared to the first quarter of 2020. Four out of five children of Arnault’s head the corners of their LVMH empire – Frederic, Delphine, Antoine, and Alexandre.
LVHM oversees an empire of 70 brands that has top names like Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, which are independently managed and run under one umbrella of the LVMH organization. In January 2021, LVMH completed a deal for American jeweler Tiffany & Co for $15.8 billion, believed to be the biggest luxury brand acquisition ever according to the businessman’s bio published in the real-time listing. Mr. Bezos, who is 57, is worth $194.9 billion and holds the second position on the list. Forbes reported that Amazon thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic; its revenues in 2020 grew 38 percent to $386 billion as people stayed home so online purchases grew.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s Elon Musk, who is 50, holds the third spot with a whopping $185.5 billion. He was formerly the richest person on the list but then his company spent $3.2 billion in 2019 for luxury hospitality group, Belmond, which owns or manages 46 hotels, trains as well as river cruises. Amazon on July 30 speculated that the future sales growth would see a slow downfall in the next few quarters as people are now free to roam outside their houses, a tepid start to CEO Andy Jassy’s reign after 27 years with Mr. Bezos at the retailer’s helm. Spending growth by Prime members, Amazon’s most valuable customers, has eased as well, the company said. More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic now, Amazon’s financial luster is fading slightly.
Also when the stores were closed, Amazon reported record-breaking profits, making almost 200 million Prime loyalty subscribers, and recruited over five lakh workers to keep up with surging demand. Bernard Arnault was born on March 5, 1949, in Roubaix, the third-largest city in France where he studied engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique, a prestigious school. Arnault’s father, having not much expertise in any skill, made a small fortune in construction. Arnault got his start by putting up $15 million from that business to buy Christian Dior in 1985. In 1989, Arnault became the majority shareholder of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, thereby creating the world’s leading luxury products group. In fact, he let four of his children lead and work the brands under his umbrella, namely- Frédéric, Delphine, Antoine, and Alexandre.
Arnault owns a major 47.5% share in LVMH, which has a market capitalization of more than $400 billion. LVMH also owns household names like Fendi, Christian Dior, and Givenchy. The luxury French brand has been posting pre-pandemic sales figures in Asia and the USA. The organization’s sales in China have seen a sudden rise as the country’s economy improved slightly due to the ongoing pandemic. It is a fact that Arnault hasn’t hit the first spot in the Forbes list of billionaires for the first time. He was number one in December 2019, January 2020, May 2021, as well as in July 2021. Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy is one of the world’s leading fashion luxury goods companies that looks after an empire of 70 brands including Marc Jacobs, Guerlain, Sephora, Tiffany & Co. along with a host of jewelry brands such as De Beers, Bulgari, and TAG Heuer.
Arnault also owns a 96.5 percent stake in Christian Dior, which establishes 41 percent of LVMH. During Lockdown, LVMH and Arnault saw a thriving success in sales when major companies were struggling with the lockdown. According to Jefferies analyst Flavio Cereda, LVMH recorded revenue of $17 billion for the first quarter of 2021, which is 32% more when compared to the same period in 2020. Over the years, the very top of Forbes’ billionaires list has been largely dominated by Americans, mainly the number one spot, occupied over the last two decades by U.S. taxpayers like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Buffett. Only one exception was made when Mexico’s Carlos Slim disturbed the monopoly of the Americans by reaching on top for a significant period of time.
Although for many years that marked this century’s start, Europeans like Aldi founders Theo and Karl Albrecht of budget supermarket fame were one of the richest, even stayed under top 10; yet they never made it to the top position either. Bernard Arnault debuted among the top 10 in mid-2005, with a $13 billion fortune. He has maintained consistency in the top 5 positions since 2018 but receded to no. 11 last year. In 2019, he was the third richest person all over the world, whopping a $76 billion fortune. He even overtook Bezos to briefly become the world’s richest person, at around 10:30 a.m. EST on December 16, 2019, when he surpassed the Amazon CEO. But then Amazon’s stock eventually closed higher, knocking the French tycoon back to No. 2.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the world, the net worths of the top 10 richest tycoons have fluctuated widely, many even by billions. In January this year, Elon Musk briefly occupied the position of the world’s richest person when he had a net worth of $189.7 billion. This was quite incredulous as 10 months ago he was at That $24.6 billion, meaning a huge surge by 165 million dollars.