Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault is gunning for Warren Buffett now | Style Magazine

Louis Vuitton chairman adds US$4.3 billion to his fortune in one day as growing Chinese appetite for handbags and Hennessy Cognac boosts results

By Bloomberg

Bernard Arnault, the world’s fourth-richest person, added US$4.3 billion to his fortune on Wednesday as Chinese consumers’ growing appetite for handbags and Hennessy Cognac boosted results at LVMH.

Shares of his Paris-based luxury-goods maker surged 6.9 per cent, the most since mid-2016, as fourth-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates on strong demand from China, the world’s second-largest economy. Arnault controls about half of LVMH through a family holding company, Groupe Arnault SE.

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His wealth has surged US$8.3 billion since the start of the year and now stands at US$76.9 billion, putting him within striking distance of Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, who is ranked third on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with $84.8 billion. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, added US$6.1 billion to his net worth on Wednesday, while No 2 Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, gained US$889.4 million. Piggy bank

LVMH’s stake in luxury fashion house Christian Dior SE comprises most of Arnault’s fortune. He moved into luxury goods in 1984, taking over the bankrupt textile group that owned Christian Dior. He sold the company’s other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH. Last month, the company agreed to acquire high-end hotel operator Belmond in a deal that values the owner of New York’s ‘21’ Club at US$2.6 billion.

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Arnault has never ranked higher than fourth on the Bloomberg wealth ranking, which could see more of a shake-up near the top on Thursday. Shares in Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook surged 12 per cent in extended trading at 5.25pm, in New York, after the company posted sales and profit that smashed estimates. Zuckerberg, the world’s seventh-richest person, is poised to jump to No 5, leapfrogging Spain’s Amancio Ortega and Mexico’s Carlos Slim.

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