What is Bernard Arnault Net Worth? [2022]

Bernard Arnault is one of the world’s richest people as I write this. He is in the luxury goods business, which is where he has amassed most of his fortune. At the same time, he is a rare breed among the super rich because he is one of a handful of individuals on the rich list who’ve made their money outside the tech industry.

In this piece, we take a closer look at the man dominating the world of luxury goods. This is the story of one of the revered names in business where you will learn how the richest person in Europe became the most successful investors in the fashion industry.

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Who is Bernard Arnault?

Bernard Arnault’s Wikipedia entry describes him as follows:

“Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault is a French businessman, investor, and art collector. He is the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, the world’s largest luxury goods company.”

The company sells products like Louis Vuitton leather goods, TAG Heuer watches, and expensive champagne.

Bernard Arnault

Bernard is one of the richest individuals on the planet with an estimated net worth of $155 billion as of writing this in March 2022. Bernard is one of a few ‘centibillionaires’ (people who have a net worth of over $100 billion).

Unlike billionaires like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, and Jeff Bezos who made their wealth through tech-related businesses, Bernard is one of a few billionaires who made their money through other industries.

He is the CEO of French luxury conglomerate; Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), the world’s largest maker of luxury goods. Arnault oversees an empire of 70 brands including Louis Vuitton and Sephora.

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Bernard Arnault’s Early Life

Bernard Arnault was born on 3rd May 1949 in the Northern French town of Roubux.  He studied in Ecole Polytechnique in Paris where he graduated with a degree in Engineering. Arnault joined his father’s construction company where he persuaded his father to change focus from construction to focus on real estate. 

From the start, Arnault’s interest in investment was piqued — a keen appetite for entrepreneurship is a constant feature of most billionaires’ formative years.

Arnault set his sights on the luxury goods market in 1984, a field that he has dominated ever since. It is what’s earned him a place on the list of wealthiest people.

Bernard’s Family Life

In 1991, Bernard Arnault married Helene Mercier, a famous Canadian concert pianist. They have 3 children namely Alexandre, Frédéric, and Jean.

Before marrying Helene Mercier, Arnault was married to Anne Dewavrin with whom they had two children; Delphine and Antoine. Arnault’s children work in the luxury brands business.

Delphine Arnault, who was born 1975, is Bernard’s oldest child. She is the director and executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and sits on the Board of Directors for LVMH. When he started out, Alexandre Arnault was one of youngest fashion chief executives. He is also the president and CEO of Rimowa, a luxury brand that is one of LVMH products.

Frédéric Arnault is the strategy and digital director of TAG Heuer. Antoine is the chief executive of menswear brand, Berluti, and the chairman of cashmere label Loro Piana, both LVMH brands. Antoine Arnault is married to Natalia Vodianova, a supermodel whom he reportedly met on a shoot for a 2008 Louis Vuitton campaign when he was the brand’s head of communications.

Bernard Arnault lives on Paris’s Left Bank with his second wife. Nearly all of his children have followed their father’s footprints and are working in luxury goods companies.

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Investment journey and Amassing Wealth

His journey towards establishing himself as the dominant force in the fashion industry has been long and full of risk-taking. It all started in 1984 when Arnault acquired an ailing company called Agache-Willot-Boussac, which owned brands like French department store Bon Marche and the fashion house Christian Dior. This grew Arnault’s control in Doir.

Bernard Arnault

He renamed the firm Financiere Agache and initiated a turnaround, cutting costs and selling off some of its businesses. He bought a controlling stake in LVMH. His investment in Christian Dior was worth $15 million in 1985.

Although he ventured into the world of fashion in 1984, Bernard Arnault began his career after finishing school in 1971 at his father’s company, Ferret-Savinel, as an engineer. He then became the company’s president from 1978 to 1984. In 1984, Arnault, then a young real estate developer, heard that the French government was looking for someone to take over the Boussac Saint-Frères empire, a textile and retail conglomerate that owned Christian Dior

In July 1988, Arnault acquired Céline. During the same year, he sponsored French fashion designer Christian Lacroix to advertise his brand.  LVMH acquired Berluti and Kenzo in 1993, the same year he bought out the French economic newspaper, La Tribune.

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LVMH is the world’s largest luxury goods company. It is a holding company with brands such as Louis Viutton, Berluti, Loro Piana, Fendi, Bulgari, Dom Perignon champagne Sephora, Tiffany & Co, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Christian Dior, Givenchy and TAG Heuer. LVMH’s over 70 luxury brands span a variety of industries, including fashion, cosmetics, wines, cosmetics, jewelry, and accessories.

A majority of Bernard Arnault’s net worth is derived from his 97.4% stake in Christian Dior, a luxury fashion brand for men and women that is world-renowned.

During the pandemic, the net worth of many billionaires grew significantly. For example, in 2020, Elon Musk briefly became the richest person in the world with a net worth of $189.7 billion. The Tesla CEO overtook Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. In the same year, LVMH had a revenue of $51 billion of which Bernard Arnault controlled about a half. In 2020, Arnault’s fortune jumped from $76 billion in March 2020 to $186.3 billion.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a surge in LVMH’s share price. Bernard Arnault added $7 billion to his wealth as luxury companies started making a comeback. The company recorded surging revenues in the first quarter of 2021 and surpassed pre-pandemic numbers in vital markets such as Asia and the U.S during. As a result, LVMH shares rose up to 31.1%.

In January 2021, LVMH completed a deal for American jeweler Tiffany & Co for $15.8 billion, believed to be the biggest luxury brand acquisition ever.

Bernard Arnault journey has not been without challenges. For example, LVMH agreed to relinquish its 23 percent stake in Hermes to its shareholders in September 2014, a move that ended a four-year battle to gain control of the luxury label. Arnault remained its biggest individual shareholder until 2017, when he sold most of his shares in a $13.2 billion deal in efforts to consolidate his control of Christian Dior.

Bernard Arnault spent $3.2 billion in 2019 on luxury hospitality group Belmond, which owns or manages 46 hotels, trains and river cruises.

In 2013, he launched LVMH’s international competition for students from fine-arts schools in which every year, the winner receives a $340,000 grant.

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Arnault, The Art Collector

Bernard Arnault’s interest in art has seen him build an impressive collection. His art collection of modern and contemporary paintings includes pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Maurizio Cattelan, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. In 2006, he started the Louis Vuitton Foundation, which was dedicated to creation and contemporary art.

Applying for Belgian Citizenship

In 2012, Bernard Arnault applied for Belgian citizenship sparking French Tax Debate. He later withdrew his Belgian citizenship application.

Private Island, Yacht, and Startups

Bernard Arnault owns a 133-acre private island in the Bahamas, which he purchased at $35 million.

Like most billionaires, Bernard is not just focused on his empire because he has a keen interest in startups that are potential game-changers in revolutionizing industrialization during the current information age. Bernard Arnault’s portfolio includes Netflix, Boo.com, Libertysurf and Zebank. The world’s second-largest food distributor Carrefour is also part of a holding company in which Bernard Arnault has invested.

Bernard Arnault did what most billionaires do: he bought himself a boat. His first forray into the yacht business was when he purchased Princess Yachts, which cost over $200 million. He also bought Royal van lent at around the same price.


Arnault has been awarded the honorary titles of Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres for his legacy. The billionaire met president Donald Trump in 2017 before his inauguration at a meeting about the expansion of LVMH factories in the United States.

In 2021, Bernard Arnault was granted the Corporate Citizen award at the White House.

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It’s amazing how almost all the richest people blend their success with a kind heart with the majority helping where they can. For example, it’s not surprising that after Russia interfered with the internet in the ongoing crisis with Ukraine, Elon Musk fasttracked his efforts to offer the country internet through Starlink.

The Arnault family pledged $234 million to help repair the Notre-Dame cathedral after the infamous inferno burnt significant portions of it in 2019. In addition to that, he donated $11 million to assist in fighting the Amazon wildfire that has been posing a serious threat to biodiversity in the famous rainforest.


As the chairman and CEO of LVMH, Bernard has a rich legacy in the luxury brands business through brands such as louis vuitton, Christian Dior, Tag Heur, just to name a few. Due to his achievements in this industry, he is often seen by some as an ambassador of French heritage and French culture.

What his brands create is emblematic. The LVMH empire has also made him the richest person in Europe. On the global stage, the tussle between Bezos and Arnault has so far been a tight race. Bezos’s net worth has risen above and below the $200 billion mark as the Amazon share price ebbs and flows. It will be interesting to see whether the Frenchman will surpass Bezos as he did in 2019 when he briefly became the world’s richest person.

Before you leave

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David Fortune has been the editor NoBSIMReviews.com since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.

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