Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault beats Microsoft’s Bill Gates to become world’s second-richest person

Bloomberg London | Updated on July 18, 2019 Published on July 18, 2019

Bill Gates, Co-founder, Microsoft Corp   -  REUTERS

Jeff Bezos continues to top the list

Bill Gates has never ranked lower than No 2 in the seven-year history of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That run ended on Tuesday when the Microsoft Corp co-founder dropped to No 3 behind Louis Vuitton's Bernard Arnault.

Arnault's luxury-goods maker, advanced to a record on Tuesday and pushed his net worth to $107.6 billion and ahead of Gates by more than $200 million. The shares extended their gains Wednesday, rising 0.7 per cent at 1:54 pm in Paris. Arnault has added about $39 billion to his fortune in 2019 alone, the biggest individual gain by far among the 500 people in Bloombergs ranking.

Arnault, 70, joined Gates and Inc founder Jeff Bezos in the most exclusive wealth club last month, when his fortune surpassed $100 billion for the first time.

Bezos is the world’s richest person.

The trios 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.

This year has been particularly good to French tycoons, with Arnault, Kering SAs Francois Pinault and cosmetics heir Francoise Bettencourt Meyers tacking on a combined $57 billion.

Arnault and his family are among luxury titans who pledged more than $650 million in April for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral after fire ravaged the landmark church. He 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.

Arnault entered the luxury-goods market in 1984 by acquiring a textile group that owned Christian Dior. Four years later, he sold the companys other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH. His art collection of modern and contemporary paintings includes pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.

Were it not for Gatess philanthropic giving, hed still be the worlds richest person. Gates has donated more than $35 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bezos’s net worth is up slightly this year to $125 billion, even after reaching a divorce settlement with MacKenzie Bezos that made her the world’s fourth-richest woman.

Published on July 18, 2019
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