The role of the world’s most valuable person by net worth has traded back and forth between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates for a while. Both have a net worth of more than $100 billion and were the only two people to have had that status. Now they have been joined by Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker.
Based on data from the Bloomberg billionaire’s list, Arnault’s net worth has just crossed $100 billion. That number is up by $31 billion this year over last year. LVMH is a major player in spirits, fashion, fragrances, and watches and jewelry. It owns the famous Champagne brand Dom Pérignon as well as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Bulgari, among dozens of other brands. Some of those brands are decades old and have been collected under the Arnault umbrella in the last several years. He also owns property company Colony Capital, Princess Yachts, and several e-commerce firms.
Arnault is 70 years old, and not as well-known in the U.S. as are Gates and Warren Buffett. However, like Buffett, the world’s fourth-richest man, Arnault has collected a number of companies. Gates’ money, on the other hand, comes almost exclusively from his stake in the company he started.
The $100 billion club is growing, and it may be joined by another person soon. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a net worth of $73 billion. Facebook’s stock has been pushed down sharply by concerns about how it handles the privacy of its members, and the use of its platform to influence public opinion, particularly by the Russians. If Facebook can work its way out of these problems, its stock should move back to where it was two years ago, when Zuckerberg was closer to $100 billion in net worth.