Bernard arnault , net worth, companies, religion, house & More

French business magnate (born 1949)

Bernard Arnault

Arnault in 2017
Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault

(1949-03-05) 5 March 1949 (age 73)

Roubaix, France
Alma mater École Polytechnique, Palaiseau
  • Business magnate
  • Media proprietor
  • Art collector
Known for Founding LVMH
  • Chairman and CEO, LVMH
  • Chairman, Christian Dior SE
  • Anne Dewavrin

    (m 1973; div 1990)

  • Hélène Mercier

    (m 1991)

Children 5, including Delphine and Antoine Arnault

Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault (French: ; born 5 March 1949) is a French business magnate, investor, and art collector He is the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, the world’s largest luxury goods company Arnault and his family had an estimated net worth of US$159 billion in October 2022 according to Forbes, making him the second richest person in the world and the richest in Europe

Early life

Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault was born on 5 March 1949 in Roubaix His mother, Marie-Josèphe Savinel, daughter of Étienne Savinel, had a “fascination for Dior” His father, manufacturer Jean Léon Arnault, a graduate of École Centrale Paris, owned the civil engineering company Ferret-Savinel

Arnault was educated at the Lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch in Roubaix, and the Lycée Faidherbe in Lille In 1971, he graduated from the École Polytechnique, France’s leading engineering school, and began work for his father’s company Three years later, after he convinced his father to shift the focus of the company to real estate, Ferret-Savinel sold the industrial construction division and was renamed Ferinel Following the acquisition of a textile company and relocation of their headquarters, the company renamed the real estate branch to the George V Group The real estate assets were later sold to Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE), eventually becoming Nexity


Arnault with Vladimir Putin, 2016

1971–1987: Professional start

Arnault began his career in 1971, at Ferret-Savinel, and was its president from 1978 to 1984 In 1984, Arnault, then a young real estate developer, heard that the French government was set to choose someone to take over the Boussac Saint-Frères empire, a textile and retail conglomerate that owned Christian Dior

With the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of Lazard Frères, Arnault acquired the Financière Agache, a luxury goods company He became the CEO of Financière Agache and subsequently won the bidding war for Boussac Saint-Frères, buying the group for a ceremonial one franc and effectively took control of Boussac Saint-Frères Along with Christian Dior, Boussac’s assets included the department store Le Bon Marché, the retail shop Conforama, and the diapers manufacturer Peaudouce

After Arnault bought Boussac, he laid off 9,000 workers in two years, after which he acquired the nickname “The Terminator” He then sold nearly all of the company’s assets, keeping only the Christian Dior brand and Le Bon Marché department store By 1987, the company was profitable again and booked earnings of $112 million on a revenue stream of $19 billion dollars

1987–1989: Co-founding and acquisition of LVMH

See also: LVMH – Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton

In the 1980s, Arnault had the idea to create a group of luxury brands He worked with Alain Chevalier, CEO of Moët Hennessy, and Henry Racamier, president of Louis Vuitton, to form LVMH in 1987

In July 1988, Arnault provided $15 billion to form a holding company with Guinness that held 24% of LVMH’s shares In response to rumors that the Louis Vuitton group was buying LVMH’s stock to form a “blocking minority”, Arnault spent $600 million to buy 135% more of LVMH, making him LVMH’s largest shareholder LVMH had been created on the premise that the conglomerate would be too large for a single hostile raider However, the premise failed to take into account internal takeover attempts The fault became too large to ignore when Arnault had a differing strategic vision from Henry Racamier, Louis Vuitton’s president

In January 1989, he spent another $500 million to gain control of a total of 435% of LVMH’s shares and 35% of its voting rights, thus reaching the “blocking minority” that he needed to stop the dismantlement of the LVMH group He then turned on Racamier, stripped him of his power and ousted him from the board of directors On 13 January 1989, he was unanimously elected chairman of the executive management board

1989–2001: LVMH Initial expansion and growth

After assuming leadership, Arnault led the company through an ambitious development plan, transforming it into one of the largest luxury groups in the world, alongside Swiss luxury giant Richemont and French-based Kering In eleven years, annual sales and profit rose by a factor of 5, and the market value of LVMH increased by a factor of 15 In July 1988, Arnault acquired Céline That same year, he sponsored French fashion designer Christian Lacroix in order to advertise the company’s luxury clothing line LVMH acquired Berluti and Kenzo in 1993, the same year Arnault bought out the French economic newspaper La Tribune The company never achieved the desired success, despite his 150 million euro investment, and he sold it in November 2007 in order to buy a different French economic newspaper, Les Échos, for €240 million In 1994, LVMH acquired the perfume firm Guerlain In 1996, Arnault bought out Loewe, followed by Marc Jacobs and Sephora in 1997 Five more brands were also integrated into the group: Thomas Pink in 1999, Emilio Pucci in 2000 and Fendi, DKNY and La Samaritaine in 2001 In the 1990s, Arnault decided to develop a center in New York to manage LVMH’s presence in the United States He chose Christian de Portzamparc to supervise this project The result was the LVMH Tower that opened in December 1999 That same year, Arnault turned his eyes on Gucci, an Italian leather goods company, which was run by Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole He discreetly amassed a 5 percent stake in the company before being detected Gucci responded hostilely, and called it a “creeping takeover” Upon being noticed, Arnault upped his stake to 344 percent while insisting he wanted to be a supportive and unassertive stakeholder De Sole proposed that in return for board representation, Arnault would stop increasing his stake in Gucci However, Arnault refused to accept these terms De Sole discovered a loophole that allowed him to issue shares with only board approval, and for every share LVMH bought, he created more for his employees, diluting Arnault’s stake The fight dragged on until settlement in September 2001 After the legal ruling, LVMH sold its shares and walked away with $700 million in profit

2001–present: Increasing success and profitability

On 7 March 2011, Arnault announced the acquisition of 504% of family-owned shares of the Italian jeweler Bulgari, with the intention to make a tender offer for the rest, which was publicly owned The transaction was worth $52 billion In 2011, Arnault invested $641 million in establishing LCapitalAsia On 7 March 2013, National Business Daily reported that mid-priced clothing brand QDA would open stores with the assistance of Arnault’s private equity firm LCapitalAsia and Chinese apparel company Xin Hee Co, Ltd in Beijing In February 2014, Arnault entered into a joint venture with the Italian fashion brand Marco De Vincenzo, taking a minority 45% stake in the firm in 2016, LVMH sold DKNY to G-III Apparel Group In April 2017, Arnault announced the acquisition of Christian Dior haute couture, leather, both men and women’s ready-to-wear, and footwear lines, which integrated the entire Christian Dior brand within LVMH

By January 2018, Arnault had led the company to record sales of €426 billion in 2017, 13% over the previous year, as all divisions turned in strong performances That same year, the net profit increased 29% In November 2019, Arnault planned to acquire Tiffany & Co for approximately US $162 billion The deal was expected to close by June 2020 LVMH then issued a statement in September 2020 indicating that the takeover would not proceed and that the deal was “invalid” because of Tiffany’s handling of the business during the COVID-19 pandemic Subsequently, Tiffany filed suit against LVMH, asking the court to compel the purchase or to assess damages against the defendant; LVMH planned to counter sue, alleging that mismanagement had invalidated the purchase agreement In mid-September 2020, a reliable source told Forbes (magazine) that the reason for Arnault’s decision to cancel the Tiffany purchase was purely financial: Tiffany was paying millions in dividends to shareholders despite a financial loss of US$32 million during the pandemic Upon examination of financial records, Arnault discovered that some US$70 million had already been paid out by Tiffany, with an additional US$70 million scheduled to be paid in November 2020 LVMH filed a counterclaim against the court action commenced by Tiffany; a statement issued by LMVH blamed Tiffany’s mismanagement during the pandemic and claimed that it was “burning cash and reporting losses” In late October 2020, Tiffany and LVMH agreed to the original takeover plan, though at a slightly reduced price of nearly $16 billion, a minor reduction of 26% from the aforementioned deal The new deal reduced the amount paid per share by LVMH from the original price of $135 to $13150 LVMH completed the purchase of Tiffany in January 2021

Under Arnault’s leadership, LVMH has grown to become the largest company by market capitalization in the Euro zone, with a record of 313 billion euros ($382 billion) as of May 2021 Arnault has promoted decisions towards decentralizing the group’s brands as a business strategy As a result of these measures, brands under the LVMH umbrella such as Tiffany are still viewed as independent firms with their own history For a very brief period on 24 May 2021, Arnault temporarily became the richest man in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos with a net worth of 1873 billion dollars A few hours later, however, Amazon stock ticked up and Jeff Bezos reclaimed the spot


From 2010 until 2013, Arnault was a member of the Board of Advisors of the Malaysian 1MDB fund

Other investments

In 1998, with businessman Albert Frère he purchased Château Cheval Blanc in a personal capacity LVMH acquired Arnault’s share in 2009 to add to the group’s other wine property Château d’Yquem

From 1998 to 2001, Arnault invested in a variety of web companies such as Boocom, Libertysurf, and Zebank through his holding Europatweb Groupe Arnault also invested in Netflix in 1999

In 2007, Blue Capital announced that Arnault owns jointly with the California property firm Colony Capital 1069% of France’s largest supermarket retailer and the world’s second-largest food distributor Carrefour

In 2008, he entered the yacht business and bought Princess Yachts for 253 million euros He subsequently took control of Royal van Lent for an almost identical amount

Art collection

Arnault’s collection includes work by Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, and Andy Warhol He was also instrumental in establishing LVMH as a major patron of art in France The LVMH Young Fashion Designer was created as an international competition open to students from fine-arts schools Every year, the winner is awarded a grant to support the creation of the designer’s own label and with a year of mentorship

From 1999 to 2003, he owned Phillips de Pury & Company, an art auction house, and bought out the first French auctioneer, Tajan In 2006, Arnault started the building project of the Louis Vuitton Foundation Dedicated to creation and contemporary art, the building was designed by the architect Frank Gehry The Foundation’s grand opening at the Jardin d’Acclimatation Paris was held on 20 October 2014

Personal life


In 1973, he married Anne Dewavrin, together having two children, Delphine and Antoine They separated in 1990 In 1991, he married Hélène Mercier, a Canadian concert pianist, together having three children, Alexandre, Frédéric, and Jean Arnault and Mercier live in Paris All five children — Delphine, Antoine, Alexandre, Frédéric and Jean — have official roles in brands controlled by Arnault, along with his niece Stephanie Watine Arnault

Alexandre is the EVP of Tiffany & Co, Frédéric is the CEO of TAG Heuer, and Jean is the Director of Marketing and Development at Louis Vuitton Since 2010, Arnault’s daughter Delphine has been the partner of Xavier Niel, a French billionaire businessman active in the telecommunications and technology industry


In April 1999, he became the richest person in fashion, topping Zara’s Amancio Ortega In 2016, Arnault was paid €78 million as the CEO of the LVMH group In July 2019, Arnault became the second-richest man in the world, with a net worth of $103 billion Arnault briefly surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world in December 2019, and again for a short time in January 2020 During the COVID-19 pandemic, Arnault saw his wealth shrink by $30 billion as sales of luxury goods plummeted

On 5 August 2021, he regained the status of wealthiest man in the world, with his net worth climbing to $1984 billion This occurred as sales of LVMH’s luxury goods surged in China and other parts of Asia He is listed as “Bernard Arnault & Family” on the Forbes Billionaires list Forbes estimates the Bernard Arnault & Family fortune to be $158 billion in 2022, positioning him ahead of Bill Gates

Arnault owned the 70 m (230 ft) converted research vessel Amadeus, which was sold in late 2015 His current 1015 m (333 ft) yacht Symphony was built in the Netherlands by Feadship

Request for Belgian citizenship

In 2013, it was disclosed that Arnault planned to apply for Belgian citizenship and was considering moving to Belgium In April 2013, Arnault said that he had been misquoted and that he never intended to leave France: “I repeatedly said that I would stay as a resident in France and that I would continue to pay my taxes Today, I decided to remove any ambiguity I withdraw my request of Belgian nationality Requesting Belgian nationality was to better protect the foundation that I created with the sole purpose of ensuring the continuity and integrity of the LVMH group if I were to disappear”

On 10 April 2013, Arnault announced he had decided to abandon his application for Belgian citizenship, saying he did not want the move to be misinterpreted as a measure of tax evasion, at a time when France faced economic and social challenges Arnault also stated several employees requested to leave France for tax purposes but he declined their requests, explaining “the 75% tax would not raise a lot of revenue but should prove less divisive, as now it was set to be levied on firms rather than people, and only due to stay in place for two years”


In October 2022 Arnault stated that LVMH sold its private jet after a Twitter user began to track its flights and stated he began renting private aircraft for his personal and business flights instead


In the second round of the 2017 French presidential election, Arnault supported Emmanuel Macron Brigitte Macron was the French teacher of Arnault’s sons Frédéric and Jean when they were students at the Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague


  • Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur (10 February 2007)
  • Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (14 July 2011)
  • The Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Corporate Citizenship (2011)
  • Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (2012)
  • The Museum of Modern Art’s David Rockefeller Award (March 2014)

See also

  • List of French billionaires by net worth

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