Apparently, little blue boxes can come with a lot more than just a sparkling ring. Billions more, actually. With the acquisition of Tiffany & Co. for his prestigious LVMH group and its stable of heritage brands, Bernard Arnault shelled out $16.2 billion in the largest luxury deal ever. In the process, he may have also set himself on track to become the world’s richest person, unseating both Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
According to Forbes, Arnault’s personal net worth jumped $2.1 billion from Sunday amid news of a finalized deal between LVMH and Tiffany & Co. Though it only represents a 1 percent increase, the deal brings the magnate’s personal wealth valuation to a staggering $106 billion. Arnault and his family own a whopping 47 percent of the group which holds Louis Vuitton as its crown jewel and largest cash cow
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Gates currently has a net worth of just under $107 billion and Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person at the time of publication, has a net worth just over $110 billion, according to Forbes. If the deal with Tiffany leads to greater interest in the brand overall with increased revenue to match, it stands to reason that Arnault could soon dethrone Bezos. The trio may be in a tight race the likes of which few can truly understand. The next wealthiest person, Warren Buffet, is roughly $20 billion behind at $86 billion.
The deal with Tiffany & Co. comes after weeks of intense speculation and publicity. Despite its lofty reputation, Tiffany has struggled to stay relevant in recent years amid sluggish sales and the emergence of online shopping. Time will tell if Arnault—who built his reputation acquiring and reinvigorated luxury brands ranging from Louis Vuitton and Dior to Berluti and Hermès—can work his magic once more with the venerable jeweler. One thing is sure: few will bet against it.