Have you ever wondered what the net worth of Bernard Arnault is? The French businessman and fashion mogul is one of the richest people in the world.
As Chairman and CEO of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, Arnault is one of the most successful businessmen of the century. He is the head of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and multiple other luxury brands.
As of May 2023, Bernard Arnault has a net worth of $155 billion. This post will describe how the fashion legend accrued his wealth.
Bernard Arnault was born on March 5th, 1949, in Roubaix, France. Near the northern border of Belgium, Roubaix was known for its booming textile industry in the 20th century. His father was a manufacturer and his maternal grandfather owned a civil engineering company, Ferret-Savinel.
Arnault’s father would eventually assume ownership of Ferret – Savinel. Therefore, Arnault graduated from a top engineering program and began his career at the family firm.
Ferret-Savinel was a development/public works company. Arnault spent over a decade at the Firm, including 6 years as its President (1978-84). He was instrumental in repositioning the business and developing its real estate development and services branch.
This became their sole business and the firm became extremely successful in its new industry. Arnault’s shift allowed it to become one of France’s largest real estate services firms at the time.
Its rapid growth and the newfound success propelled Arnault to his next endeavors.
In 1984, Arnault and a partner purchased their first luxury goods company, Financière Agache. While CEO of Agache, Arnault also took control of Boussac Saint-Frères, a textile firm.
This firm had several brands, most of which Arnault sold, except Christian Dior. Arnault saw promise in the Dior brand and grew it into a holding company and conglomerate of its own.
In 1988, Arnault became interested in the company LVMH, a merger of the fashion house Louis Vuitton and the cognac producer Moët Hennessy.
He started to invest heavily in the company through Dior, and by 1989, Arnault owned over 43% of the shares and 35% of its voting rights.
LVMH – Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
LVMH serves as the parent company to over 70 luxury brands that operate independently. These include Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennesey, Château d’Yquem, Tiffany & Co., Fendi, Tag Hauer, and many others!
The conglomerate is divided into six sectors of the luxury goods market where each of the ~75 brands or “houses” fits in.
Arnault’s approach to implementing the LVMH business plan and strategy while maintaining the independence of each brand is unique.
Many in the industry say that it has contributed to the conglomerate’s meteoric rise. Each brand has maintained much of its culture, history, and traditions from its original founder.
Several brands under LVMH are below, divided into their six sectors:
- Wine & Spirits: Armand de Brignac (50%), Belvedere, Château d’Yquem, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy (66%), Moët & Chandon, and Veuve Clicquot.
- Watches & Jewelry: Bulgari, Chaumet, FRED, Hublot, TAG Heuer, Tiffany & Co., Zenith.
- Fashion & Leather Goods: Céline, Christian Dior, Fendi, Fenty (brand), Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs.
- Perfumes & Cosmetics: Acqua di Parma, Benefit Cosmetics, Fresh, Givenchy Parfums, Guerlain, Bite Beauty, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, Marc Jacobs Beauty.
- Selective Retailing: DFS, La Grande Epicerie, Le Bon Marché, Sephora, Starboard Cruise Services
- Other Activities: Belmond Hotels, Caffè-Pasticceria Cova, Cheval Blanc Hotels, Royal Van Lent yachts, Princess Yachts yachts, Les Echos newspaper, Pinarello bicycles.
Acquisition of Tiffany & Co.
In 2020, it was announced that LVMH wanted to acquire the luxury goods company, Tiffany & Co. in a multi-billion dollar deal.
However, there were some complications and lawsuits throughout the process. Nevertheless, in January 2021, LVMH purchased the firm for ~$16 Billion.
This was the largest deal in the history of LVMH and the largest luxury goods acquisition ever.
Yachts – Symphony
Most billionaires have a hobby or passion outside of their primary career, where they can invest/splurge during their free time. For Arnault, these include collecting Art and investing in yachts.
Arnault entered the yacht business in 2008 when he bought Princess Yachts for ~250 Million Euros. He then acquired Royal Van Lent, now Feadship, for an equivalent amount, totaling ~500 Million Euros invested over that year.
In addition to those investments, Arnault is also the owner of Symphony, one of the world’s largest yachts, with over 100 meters in length.
Arnault is also one of France’s and Europe’s most famous art collectors. He owns works by Pablo Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, and Andy Warhol.
He’s also turned LVMH into a patron of art and has contributed to artists by supporting foundations that provide mentorship, grants, etc.
He even started the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which houses a museum and cultural center funded by LVMH in the early 2000s.
Bernard Arnault Net Worth 2023
As of January 2023, Bernard Arnault has a net worth of $155 Billion. While most of his wealth is derived from his ownership stake in LVMH, he’s also invested in other brands over the years.
These include Netflix in 1999 and the major French supermarket chain/food distributor Carrefour.
When your wealth is derived mostly from your company’s stock price, your net worth can often change drastically depending on your company’s performance.
For example, in November 2020, Arnault added $7 Billion to his net worth in a single day! This was due to LVMH’s stock price rising on positive earnings news.
If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it
Arnault has made a living acquiring brands that are already successful/well-known.
While he surely makes changes and repositions each brand to ensure their success, his brands act independently and maintain much of the culture and elements that made them successful in the first place.
To scale, chase margins
One of Arnault’s famous quotes is “Luxury goods are the only area in which it is possible to make luxury margins.” Arnault understands that he doesn’t necessarily need to focus on volume like other brands, and can instead focus on brand recognition and quality.
Remain a student/observer of your industry
Arnault has created an empire in the fashion industry by identifying value. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. If you can develop an ability to follow trends and consumer behavior, you’ll be able to identify brands/products with untapped potential.