Bernard Arnault 101: The Richest Entrepreneur
Zatrun Published at April 09, 2024

Bernard Arnault... who is the Richest Entrepreneur? in our article of, we will cover in detail everything you need to know about Bernard Arnault, the richest entrepreneur that our readers are curious about.

Bernard Arnault

Who is Bernard Arnault?

Bernard Arnault is known as a French businessman born on March 5, 1949. He serves as the CEO of the French LVMH holding company, the world’s largest luxury goods company. Arnault is both chairman and CEO of LVMH. In April 2018, he surpassed Amancio Ortega of Zara to become the richest fashion person in the world. In December 2019, he surpassed Jeff Bezos for a short time and became the richest person in the world. In January 2020, he became the richest person in the world again. Bernard Arnault’s Bloomberg Billionaires Index value as of March 16, 2021 is estimated to be $123.7 billion.

Bernard Arnault’s father, Jean Léon Arnault, was a graduate of the Ecole Centrale Paris and a manufacturer. His mother, Marie-Josèphe Savinel, was the daughter of the founder of a construction company named Ferret-Savinel and came from a military family in Alsace. Bernard Arnault attended the Lycée Maxence Van Der Meersch in Roubaix and studied at the Lycée Faidherbe in Lille. After that, he graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique, the best engineering school in France, in 1971, and then started working in the company of his father, Jean Léon Arnault. Arnault comes from a wealthy family.

Her parents, Jean Arnault and Marie-Josèphe Savinel, met while working together at the Ferret-Savinel company, where Jean was an engineer, and married in 1947, and in 1950 Marie-Josèphe’s father, Étienne Savinel, entrusted the management of the business to his son-in-law. The couple also had a daughter named Dominique, who was born in 1950 and later managed Fred Joaillier after his career as an auctioneer. Growing up in a bourgeois family, Bernard Arnault enjoyed a privileged education, learning to play the piano, ride horses and play tennis.

Career Life:

Bernard Arnault began his career in 1971 working at Ferret-Savinel, his father’s company, and eventually became chairman from 1978 to 1984. In 1984, Arnault acquired Financière Agache, a luxury goods company, thanks to the help of Antoine Bernheim, senior partner of Lazard Frères. Arnault also became the CEO of Financière Agache and later took control of the embattled textile company Boussac Saint-Frères. Arnault sold almost all the assets of the company, while retaining the Christian Dior brand and the Le Bon Marché department store.

Bernard Arnault

LVMH Corporation:

In July 1988, Arnault made a deal with Guinness to form a holding company for $1.5 billion, giving him a 24% stake in LVMH. Responding to rumors that the Louis Vuitton Group had bought LVMH shares to create a “blocking minority,” Arnault spent $600 million to buy an additional 13.5% stake in LVMH, making him the company’s largest shareholder. In January 1989, he spent another $500 million to gain control of 43.5% of LVMH’s shares and 35% of its voting rights, reaching the “prohibitive minority” he needed to prevent the breakup of the group.

Arnault was unanimously elected chairman of the board of directors in 1989. Subsequently, he applied quite ambitious growth strategies to the company. In eleven years, sales and profits have increased fivefold, and LVMH’s market capitalization has increased fifteen-fold. He encouraged the centralization of the group’s brands, which led to the brands now being seen as independent companies with their own histories.

In July 1988, Arnault bought Céline. LVMH acquired Berluti and Kenzo in 1993. In the same year, Arnault also bought the French economic newspaper La Tribune. despite the investment of 150 million euros, the company could not achieve the desired success. In November 2007, he sold La Tribune to buy Les Échos, a different French economic newspaper, for €240 million.

Bernard Arnault acquired LVMH perfume company Guerlain in 1994. Arnault bought Loewe in 1996 and then Marc Jacobs and Sephora in 1997. Later, these brands were added to the group: Thomas Pink in 1999, Emilio Pucci in 2000, and Fendi, DKNY and La Samaritaine in 2001. Bernard Arnault considered establishing a headquarters in New York in order to manage LVMH’s presence in the United States. He chose Christian de Portzamparc to lead this project.

Other Investments:

Among Bernard Arnault’s other investments, he invested through Europatweb holding from 1998 to 2001. There are various web companies such as, Libertysurf and Zebank. in 1999, Groupe Arnault also invested in Netflix. in 2007, Blue Capital announced the acquisition of a 10.69% stake in Carrefour, France’s largest supermarket retailer and the world’s second largest food distributor, together with Arnault’s California real estate company Colony Capital.

Arnault bought Princess Yachts, which entered the yacht sector in 2008, for 253 million euros. After that, he took control of Royal van Lent. in 1998, together with the businessman Albert Frère, he bought the Château Cheval Blanc. LVMH also acquired Arnault’s shares in 2009 in order to add to the group’s other wine estate, Chateau d’Yquem.

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