It’s now Jeff, Bill and Bernard at the tippy top of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The vast fortune of luxury titan Bernard Arnault, who leads LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, hit $83.1 billion on Tuesday, just nudging past Berkshire Hathaway head Warren Buffet, who’s net worth is pegged at $83 billion by Bloomberg.
Leading the pack is Jeff Bezos, whose fortune — at least before his divorce goes through — ranked him as the world’s richest with a net worth of $140 billion. Coming in second is Bill Gates with $98.3 billion.
Bloomberg said Arnault added $14.5 billion to his fortune this year. This is the first time he has been in the top three in the ranking since it was launched in 2012.
Much of Arnault’s fortune is tied to LVMH, which in turn relies on the luxury market and, increasingly, consumers from China. While fears around spending by the Chinese hit stocks hard in the fall, the company proved the naysayers wrong, at least for now, and posted a 17 percent rise in organic sales growth from its fashion and leather goods businesses last year.
The company has also been pressing hard to catch the next wave of luxury consumers, wherever they are, including through a $2.6 billion deal to buy high-end hotel company Belmond and a hush-hush effort to build a new luxury house with Rihanna.