French billionaire and owner of luxury conglomerate LVMH, Bernard Arnault, 70, has pushed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates down one slot for the first time in the seven-year history of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to take the second rank. LVMH shares advanced on July 16, pushing Arnault’s net worth to $107.6 billion, ahead of Gates by more than $200 million.
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Arnault added about $39 billion to his fortune in 2019 alone, the biggest individual gain by far among the 500 people in Bloomberg’s ranking, the news agency reported.
Arnault joined Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, in the most exclusive wealth club, when his fortune surpassed $100 billion for the first time. The trio’s collective wealth exceeds the individual market values of almost every company in the S&P 500 Index, including Walmart Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Walt Disney Co.
Arnault controls about half of Paris-based LVMH through a family holding company and also owns a 97 per cent stake in Christian Dior, the fashion house founded three years before his birth in 1949.
He entered the luxury-goods market in 1984 by acquiring a textile group that owned Christian Dior. Four years later, he sold the company’s other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH.
(Source: Fibre 2 Fashion)