Earth Has A New Richest Person. Here’s How He Pulled Ahead of Jeff Bezos And Elon Musk.
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Say bonjour to the richest person alive.
If you’d told most people that someone would topple Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person this year, most bets would have been on Elon Musk. With Tesla’s stock rocketing like a Starship at the start of the year—and the Dogefather gathering headlines for everything from crypto bets to hosting SNL—Musk is the most talked-about contender for Earth’s wealth crown.
But Tesla’s stock has cooled off, while shares of French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH have spent the last six months crashing into new all-time highs. That’s catapulted LVMH’s CEO and majority shareholder Bernard Arnault into the top spot.
Who Is The World’s Richest Person, Bernard Arnault?
Considered one of the world’s top “taste-makers,” Arnault got his start on the back of his father’s construction business. He initially put up $15 million from his father to complete a 1985 acquisition of Christian Dior, and he hasn’t stopped acquiring high-end names since.
Today, LVMH controls more than 70 luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Sephora, and the recently acquired Tiffany & Co. LVMH dropped $15.8 billion on Tiffany in January of this year, believed to be the most expensive luxury brand acquisition ever.
Despite spending $3.2 billion on luxury hospitality group Belmond in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically enriched Arnault and LVMH. Fueled by lockdown-defying luxury purchases, Arnault’s wealth has popped nearly 150% since the pandemic began.
Bernard Arnault’s Wealth, Visualized
The past 12 months have seen Arnault’s wealth go, to borrow a phrase from a fellow billionaire, “to the moon.”
Here’s a graphic breakdown of Arnault’s year, from Visual Capitalist:
The Richest Person in the World Right Now
Since Arnault initially overtook Bezos for the top spot on Monday, the billionaires have swapped positions several times.
To see an up-to-the-minute capitalism leaderboard, check out Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires List.
Related: America’s Richest Families, Visualized In One Chart