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Meet Bernard Arnault, the richest person in Europe, who's worth $80 billion and controls LVMH, the world's largest maker of luxury goods

Bernard Arnault is the richest person in Europe, worth an estimated $80.8 billion.

Bernard Arnault is the richest person in Europe, worth an estimated $80.8 billion.

Source: Bloomberg

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The 69-year-old French businessman is the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, known as LVMH, a position he's held since 1989. LVMH is the world's largest maker of luxury goods.

The 69-year-old French businessman is the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, known as LVMH, a position he's held since 1989. LVMH is the world's largest maker of luxury goods.

Source: Bloomberg

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The business is a family affair; four of Arnault's five children hold positions at LVMH brands.

The business is a family affair; four of Arnault's five children hold positions at LVMH brands.

Source: Bloomberg

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Arnault is the fourth-richest person in the world, following Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.

Arnault is the fourth-richest person in the world, following Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.

Source: Bloomberg

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Arnault owns a 96.5% stake in Christian Dior, which controls 41% of LVMH.

Arnault owns a 96.5% stake in Christian Dior, which controls 41% of LVMH.

Source: Bloomberg

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LVMH, which recorded more than $53 billion in revenue in 2018, is made up of 70 companies that sell products such as Louis Vuitton leather goods ...

LVMH, which recorded more than $53 billion in revenue in 2018, is made up of 70 companies that sell products such as Louis Vuitton leather goods ...

Source: Bloomberg, LVMH

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... TAG Heuer watches ...

... TAG Heuer watches ...
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... and Dom Perignon Champagne. In 2018, LVMH brought in $53 billion in revenue.

... and Dom Perignon Champagne. In 2018, LVMH brought in $53 billion in revenue.

Source: LVMH

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Arnault comes from the northern French town of Roubaix.

Arnault comes from the northern French town of Roubaix.

Source: Bloomberg

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He studied engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique, a prestigious school in Paris that counts three former French presidents and three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni.

He studied engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique, a prestigious school in Paris that counts three former French presidents and three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni.

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

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After graduating, Arnault spent a stint working for his father's construction company, Ferret-Savinel, before entering the luxury goods industry. He became CEO of luxury goods holding company, Financiere Agache, in 1984.

After graduating, Arnault spent a stint working for his father's construction company, Ferret-Savinel, before entering the luxury goods industry. He became CEO of luxury goods holding company, Financiere Agache, in 1984.

Source: Bloomberg

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Arnault married Anne Dewavrin in 1973 and they had two children together before separating in 1990. Arnault remarried to Helene Mercier, a Canadian concert pianist, in 1991.

Arnault married Anne Dewavrin in 1973 and they had two children together before separating in 1990. Arnault remarried to Helene Mercier, a Canadian concert pianist, in 1991.
Source: Financial Times, Forbes
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He reportedly wooed her by playing Chopin and other classical composers for her.

He reportedly wooed her by playing Chopin and other classical composers for her.

Source: Forbes

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The French billionaire and his wife live on Paris's Left Bank south of the Seine River, a historic area that includes neighborhoods such as the Latin Quarter and St. Germain-des-Prés.

The French billionaire and his wife live on Paris's Left Bank south of the Seine River, a historic area that includes neighborhoods such as the Latin Quarter and St. Germain-des-Prés.

Source: Bloomberg, The New York Times

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In their home, Arnault keeps a collection of modern and contemporary art from artists that include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso.

In their home, Arnault keeps a collection of modern and contemporary art from artists that include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso.

Source: Bloomberg

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Arnault has five children: two with his first wife and three with his current wife.

Arnault has five children: two with his first wife and three with his current wife.

Source: The New York Times

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Antoine Arnault and Delphine Arnault are his two children from his first marriage.

Antoine Arnault and Delphine Arnault are his two children from his first marriage.

Source: The New York Times, LVMH

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Delphine, Bernard's oldest daughter, is the apparent heiress to the LVMH empire.

Delphine, Bernard's oldest daughter, is the apparent heiress to the LVMH empire.

Source: The New York Times

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She started her career at American consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. in Paris and is now the executive vice president at Louis Vuitton.

She started her career at American consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. in Paris and is now the executive vice president at Louis Vuitton.

Source: Business of Fashion, The New York Times

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In January 2019, Delphine became the youngest member of LVMH's executive committee at age 43.

In January 2019, Delphine became the youngest member of LVMH's executive committee at age 43.

Source: MDS

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Delphine married Italian wine heir Alessandro Vallarino Gancia in 2005 in what Forbes called "France's wedding of the year." The couple divorced in 2010.

Delphine married Italian wine heir Alessandro Vallarino Gancia in 2005 in what Forbes called "France's wedding of the year." The couple divorced in 2010.

Source: Forbes, Business Insider

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She now reportedly lives with tech billionaire Xavier Niel and has one daughter. But Delphine is notoriously private about her personal life. "I'm quite discreet," she told the Financial Times in a rare 2014 interview. "I think I’d rather focus on my work."

She now reportedly lives with tech billionaire Xavier Niel and has one daughter. But Delphine is notoriously private about her personal life. "I'm quite discreet," she told the Financial Times in a rare 2014 interview. "I think I’d rather focus on my work."

Source: Financial Times

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Delphine's younger brother, Antoine, is chief executive of menswear label Berluti and chairman of the cashmere label Loro Piana, both LVMH brands.

Delphine's younger brother, Antoine, is chief executive of menswear label Berluti and chairman of the cashmere label Loro Piana, both LVMH brands.

Source: The New York Times, LVMH

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In addition to those roles, Antoine was named head of communication and image for LVMH in June 2018.

In addition to those roles, Antoine was named head of communication and image for LVMH in June 2018.

Source: Business of Fashion

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His partner is supermodel Natalia Vodianova, whom he reportedly met on a shoot for a 2008 Louis ­Vuitton campaign when he was the brand's head of communications.

His partner is supermodel Natalia Vodianova, whom he reportedly met on a shoot for a 2008 Louis ­Vuitton campaign when he was the brand's head of communications.

Source: W Magazine

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The couple lives in Paris with their two children and Vodianova's three children from a previous marriage.

The couple lives in Paris with their two children and Vodianova's three children from a previous marriage.

Source: W Magazine

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Alexandre, the son of Bernard Arnault and Helene Mercier, is the CEO of Rimowa, a German luggage brand owned by LVMH.

Alexandre, the son of Bernard Arnault and Helene Mercier, is the CEO of Rimowa, a German luggage brand owned by LVMH.

Source: The New York Times, LVMH, Getty Images

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The luggage company he runs brings in more than $455 million in annual revenue.

The luggage company he runs brings in more than $455 million in annual revenue.

Source: LVMH

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Alexandre travels frequently between Cologne, Germany, where Rimowa luggage is made, London, his hometown of Paris, and Los Angeles, where Rimowa recently opened a new store.

Alexandre travels frequently between Cologne, Germany, where Rimowa luggage is made, London, his hometown of Paris, and Los Angeles, where Rimowa recently opened a new store.

Source: The New York Times

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He's reportedly friends with Evan Spiegel, the chief executive of Snap, Snapchat's parent company. Spiegel called Alexandre "a really creative guy," according to The New York Times. "He's constantly thinking about the brand and how to express that."

He's reportedly friends with Evan Spiegel, the chief executive of Snap, Snapchat's parent company. Spiegel called Alexandre "a really creative guy," according to The New York Times. "He's constantly thinking about the brand and how to express that."

Source: The New York Times

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Alexandre's younger brother, Frederic, also has a role at LVMH. He joined the conglomerate as the strategy and digital director at Swiss luxury watch brand TAG Heuer, LVMH's largest watch brand, in 2018.

Alexandre's younger brother, Frederic, also has a role at LVMH. He joined the conglomerate as the strategy and digital director at Swiss luxury watch brand TAG Heuer, LVMH's largest watch brand, in 2018.

Source: The New York Times

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Frederic graduated from his father's alma mater, École Polytechnique in Paris, and interned at Facebook and consulting firm McKinsey before joining LVMH as the temporary head of connected technologies at TAG Heuer in 2017.

Frederic graduated from his father's alma mater, École Polytechnique in Paris, and interned at Facebook and consulting firm McKinsey before joining LVMH as the temporary head of connected technologies at TAG Heuer in 2017.

Source: The New York Times

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Arnault's youngest son, Jean, is the only one of his children not involved at LVMH.

Arnault's youngest son, Jean, is the only one of his children not involved at LVMH.

Source: The New York Times

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Like many billionaires do, Arnault travels by private jet.

Like many billionaires do, Arnault travels by private jet.

Source: Getty Images

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He owns a sprawling vacation villa in glitzy Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera ...

He owns a sprawling vacation villa in glitzy Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera ...

Source: Telegraph

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... where he has been seen enjoying some tennis matches.

... where he has been seen enjoying some tennis matches.

Source: Getty Images

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Arnault has also reportedly spent at least $96.4 million on residential properties in Los Angeles, in the Beverly Hills, Trousdale Estates, and Hollywood Hills neighborhoods.

Arnault has also reportedly spent at least $96.4 million on residential properties in Los Angeles, in the Beverly Hills, Trousdale Estates, and Hollywood Hills neighborhoods.

Source: The Real Deal

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Arnault has rubbed shoulders with some of the world's influential figures, in the fashion world and otherwise. In 2017, he met President Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York City right before Trump's inauguration to discuss expanding LVMH factories in the US.

Arnault has rubbed shoulders with some of the world's influential figures, in the fashion world and otherwise. In 2017, he met President Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York City right before Trump's inauguration to discuss expanding LVMH factories in the US.

Source: WWD

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He was photographed at parties with Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

He was photographed at parties with Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

Source: Getty Images

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Arnault was reportedly friends with Apple founder Steve Jobs, who once said to Arnault: "You know Bernard, I don’t know if in 50 years my iPhone will still be a success but I can tell you, I'm sure everybody will still drink your Dom Pérignon."

Arnault was reportedly friends with Apple founder Steve Jobs, who once said to Arnault: "You know Bernard, I don’t know if in 50 years my iPhone will still be a success but I can tell you, I'm sure everybody will still drink your Dom Pérignon."

Source: CNBC

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Former Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein once called Arnault "a complete visionary," adding that he "saw the increase of wealth in the world."

Former Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein once called Arnault "a complete visionary," adding that he "saw the increase of wealth in the world."

Source: CNBC

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Arnault is reportedly longtime friends with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Arnault was a witness at the former president's wedding to Carla Bruni.

Arnault is reportedly longtime friends with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Arnault was a witness at the former president's wedding to Carla Bruni.

Source: The New York Times

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Here, Arnault can be seen shaking hands with Vladimir Putin during the Russian president's 2003 visit to the Chateau Cheval Blanc vineyard — owned by LVMH — in France.

Here, Arnault can be seen shaking hands with Vladimir Putin during the Russian president's 2003 visit to the Chateau Cheval Blanc vineyard — owned by LVMH — in France.

Source: LVMH

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Arnault considered legendary late designer and Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld a good friend. "The death of this dear friend deeply saddens me, my wife and my children," Arnault said in a statement. "We loved and admired him deeply. Fashion and culture has lost a great inspiration."

Arnault considered legendary late designer and Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld a good friend. "The death of this dear friend deeply saddens me, my wife and my children," Arnault said in a statement. "We loved and admired him deeply. Fashion and culture has lost a great inspiration."

Source: LVMH

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Arnault has a longstanding public rivalry with Francois Pinault, the second-richest man in France, who's worth $34.3 billion.

Arnault has a longstanding public rivalry with Francois Pinault, the second-richest man in France, who's worth $34.3 billion.

Source: Bloomberg, Forbes

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Pinault is the founder and CEO of French luxury brand Kering, which owns brands including Gucci and Yves St. Laurent. The billionaire also owns Christie's auction house.

Pinault is the founder and CEO of French luxury brand Kering, which owns brands including Gucci and Yves St. Laurent. The billionaire also owns Christie's auction house.

Source: Bloomberg

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Arnault's LVMH originally tried to acquire a majority stake in Gucci in 1999, but Pinault ultimately snatched up the brand.

Arnault's LVMH originally tried to acquire a majority stake in Gucci in 1999, but Pinault ultimately snatched up the brand.

Source: Forbes

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Over the years, Arnault has built LVMH into the largest luxury conglomerate in the world and earned himself an imposing nickname: "the wolf in the cashmere coat."

Over the years, Arnault has built LVMH into the largest luxury conglomerate in the world and earned himself an imposing nickname: "the wolf in the cashmere coat."

Source: The New York Times

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He's behind the creation of Fondation Louis Vuitton, a Frank Gehry-designed contemporary art museum and performance space in Paris that opened in 2014.

He's behind the creation of Fondation Louis Vuitton, a Frank Gehry-designed contemporary art museum and performance space in Paris that opened in 2014.

Source: The New York Times

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As the world's fourth-richest person, Arnault is getting richer at an astonishing rate. In January 2019, he made $4.3 billion in a single day after LVMH shares surged 6.9%.

As the world's fourth-richest person, Arnault is getting richer at an astonishing rate. In January 2019, he made $4.3 billion in a single day after LVMH shares surged 6.9%.

Source: Bloomberg

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And between the end of January and February 27, 2019, he added another $3.9 billion to his fortune, bringing his total net worth to only $2.3 billion less than Warren Buffett's.

And between the end of January and February 27, 2019, he added another $3.9 billion to his fortune, bringing his total net worth to only $2.3 billion less than Warren Buffett's.

Source: Bloomberg, Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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Arnault has never ranked higher than fourth on the Bloomberg wealth ranking, but at his current rate, that might soon change.

Arnault has never ranked higher than fourth on the Bloomberg wealth ranking, but at his current rate, that might soon change.

Source: Bloomberg

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