The World Briefly Had a New Richest Person: Bernard Arnault

But now it's Jeff Bezos again

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and his son Antoine Arnault arrive at Paris' Archbishop residence on September 24, 2019.
LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and his son Antoine Arnault in Paris on September 24, 2019.

For a time on Monday, Jeff Bezos was not the wealthiest person on the planet. Despite his fortune increasing considerably as of late, Elon Musk was not the one to topple the Amazon founder. (Both had to console themselves by continuing to be absurdly wealthy.) LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault was, for a fleeting moment, the world’s richest person.

And then the stock market fluctuated, as it is wont to do, and Jeff Bezos regained his title.

According to an article by Marc Bain at Quartz, Arnault’s net worth on Monday was $186.3 billion, while Bezos’s was an even $186 billion. All that separated them, then, was $0.3 billion, otherwise known as — checks notes — $300 million, or the annual GDP of a small island nation.

Forbes maintains a real-time index of the world’s richest people, which allowed observers to see this race play out over the course of the day. Arnault’s change in fortune — both figuratively and literally — came due to the stock price of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, the parent company of a number of luxury goods purveyors. A report at NASDAQ notes that on Monday, LVMH “saw a 0.04% rise in stock after the market opened on Monday, helping Arnault’s value to rise by $600 million.”

The real story here isn’t necessarily that Arnault was briefly the world’s richest person quite so much as the fact that, according to the same NASDAQ report, his net worth has increased by $110 billion over the last 14 months. You may recall the oft-cited data point about the world’s richest people getting richer during the pandemic? Evidently, this is what that looks like.

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