There’s rich enough to shop at Tiffany & Co. and then there’s rich enough to buy Tiffany & Co.
Bernard Arnault is, of course, the latter.
And on Monday the luxury titan and chief of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton reached another plateau altogether. For a brief moment, he ranked as the richest person in the world, nudging out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Forbes’ Real-time Billionaires List.
But the moment was fleeting and by the afternoon, Bezos was back on top with a $110.1 billion fortune — even after his $38 billion divorce this year — and Arnault and family were at $109.3 billion, up $1.5 billion for the day.
Easy come, easy go — or something like that.
Arnault, however, has spent a lifetime of hard work building LVMH into the luxury group to beat. So far this year, the company’s stock is up 59 percent to 409.70 euros (including a 1.5 percent gain on Monday). That left LVMH with a market capitalization of 206 billion euros.
And the empire is only growing.
Last month, Arnault inked a $16.2 billion deal to buy Tiffany — a New York gem for his French crown. While the deal hasn’t closed yet, WWD spotted Arnault with his sons Alexandre, chief executive officer of Rimowa, and Frédéric, strategy and digital director of Tag Heuer, getting a tour of the brand’s Fifth Avenue flagship from Tiffany ceo Alessandro Bogliolo.
A look at the rich list underscores the value of connecting with consumers, and having at least a little fashion sense. At the end of the day, Bezos, whose e-commerce empire is building more inroads into apparel, was number one, followed by Arnault. Number five was Amancio Ortega, who made $76 billion dressing the world in fast fashion at Zara.
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