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Bernard Arnault becomes world’s second-richest man

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how did he make his billions?

 

Louis Vuitton (LVMH) boss Bernard Arnault, 70, overtook Bill Gates to become the second richest person in the world, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index announced Wednesday—and he did it in style.

The French businessman, who is the force behind many of the biggest names in luxury, pushed to the second spot after a stellar year for LVMH, which saw company shares rise 43%. His net worth is now estimated at $107.6 billion—an increase of $39.1 billion in a single year.

This remains way short of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ $124 billion fortune. Yet Europe’s richest person—whose fortune is estimated to be equivalent to 3% of France’s GDP—is one of only three members in the ultra-exclusive centibillionaire’s club.

But just who is Bernard Arnault? And how did he make his fortune? More importantly, how does he manage to spend all that cash?

A fateful taxi ride

After studying engineering at the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique in Paris and graduating in 1971, Arnault joined his family’s construction company, Ferret-Savinel, as an engineer. Yet it was a chance meeting in New York that proved to have a far more dramatic impact.

Sitting in a yellow cab, Arnault asked the driver what he knew of France. “He could not name the president but he knew Dior,” Arnault recently told the Financial Times.

From there, Arnault’s course was set: within three years—and by the age of 30—he’d reinvented Ferret-Savinel as a real estate firm called Férinel, and replaced his father as company president. And in 1984, he embarked on an even more drastic venture. After lobbying the French government, he left Férinel and took up the reins of faltering textile company, Boussac—whose portfolio included the house of Dior—and systematically turned the company into the launchpad for his luxury empire. The purchase price? One Franc.

A luxury shopping spree

In 1987, Arnault was asked to mediate in the rancorous merger of Möet Hennessy and Louis Vuitton, largely because LV held the rights to Dior perfume and Henry Racamier, the 77-year-old chairman of LV, saw him as an ally, according to a report from the New York Times.

Arnault had other plans, however, and instead sided with Moet Hennessy boss, Alain Chevalier, and bought 27% of LVMH in combination with Guinness. This grew to 37% in 1988 and by 1989 Arnault was the biggest shareholder. A year later Racamier resigned from his own family firm and Arnault become both chairman and CEO of LVMH.

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It was part of a rapid expansion that saw Arnault snap up luxury firms including Céline (1988), Berluti (1993), Guerlain (1994), Marc Jacobs (1997), Thomas Pink (1999), Fendi (2001), and DKNY (2001).

LVMH itself now comprises 75 ‘houses,’ including Dom Pérignon, Bulgari, Givenchy, and TAG Heuer. Alongside the 23-story LVMH Tower on New York’s 57th Street, the company owns the Cheval Blanc ski resort in Courchevel, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice (site of George Clooney’s 2016 wedding), the Orient Express, and luxury resorts in the Caribbean, Maldives, St. Tropez, and Paris.

In 1999, Arnault also invested in a small but enterprising DVD rental firm. It’s name? Netflix.

A bet pays off

Arnault was one of the first overseas businessmen to take the gamble of investing in China at the start of Deng Xiaoping’s market-economy reforms, opening a Louis Vuitton store in Beijing in 1992.

The risk has massively paid off over the years. In the first quarter of this year, for instance, LVMH reported a revenue increase of 16% to $14.10 billion, largely fueled by Chinese buyers, who account for over a third of the luxury sector’s sales.

“With the Chinese, the business is really moving from strength to strength,” Financial Director Jean-Jacques Guiony told reporters in April.

Going after Gucci

Like all business leaders, Arnault has suffered his fair share of failures along the way. Most notably, his 1999 attempt to takeover Gucci—described as “the bloodiest fight in fashion” by the New York Post—which resulted in litigation that Arnault ultimately lost. To his chagrin, the fashion house fell into the arms of arch-rival François Pinault for $2.92 billion.

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In 2014, Arnault also admitted defeat in a four-year attempt to purchase luxury scarf-maker Hermès, after then-Hermès Chief Executive Patrick Thomas launched court proceedings to prevent LVMH from mounting a takeover. Arnault eventually agreed to relinquish his 23% stake in Hermès as a result.

Elsewhere, Arnault has unsuccessfully challenged the dominance of luxury auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s by buying British auctioneers Phillips in 1999 and got his fingers badly burnt with online retailer Boo.com, which went into liquidation in 2000.

Rising to second place

An April 10 release detailing first-quarter trading for LVMH, stated that, “All geographic regions are experiencing good growth.

“This includes a 20% increase in sales of fashion & leather goods, a 13 % rise in sales of wines & spirits and a 12 % increase in sales of perfumes & cosmetics. Overall, LMVH showed first-quarter growth of 16% and organic growth of 11% compared to 2018. Its overall revenue was around $14.3 billion.

These better-than-expected results have led to a 27% rise in LVMH shares since January 29, when the group announced record sales for 2018.

Arnault is not resting on his laurels, either. On April 17, LVMH announced the completion of its $3.2 billion deal for Belmond, making them part-owners or managers of 45 luxury hotel, restaurant, train, and river cruise properties.

Rihanna and Stella

On May 10, they followed this up with the creation of the new Fenty fashion line, centered around Barbadian pop star Rihanna.

“Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us,” Rihanna said in a release. “Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise.”

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More recently, LVMH announced a partnership with Stella McCartney’s name sake brand, which was publicly owned by rival company Kering until last year. The pair did not disclose the terms of the deal, but said it will allow McCartney to continue as creative director and majority owner of the brand.

“The chance to realize and accelerate the full potential of the brand alongside Mr. Arnault and as part of the LVMH family, while still holding the majority ownership in the business, was an opportunity that hugely excited me,” McCartney said in a release.

“It is the beginning of a beautiful story together, and we are convinced of the great long-term potential of her House,” said Arnault, before stressing that McCartney’s ethical principles were “a decisive factor”.

With the fashion world increasingly drawing criticism for its environmenal footprint, McCartney’s brand is clearly one that Arnault and LVMH can draw from.

“She was the first to put sustainability and ethical issues on the front stage, very early on, and built her House around these issues,” Arnault added about McCartney. “LVMH was the first large company in France to create a sustainability department, more than 25 years ago, and Stella will help us further increase awareness on these important topics.”

 

 

Source : Fortune

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ekiti loses ex- SSG, Alofe

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Former Secretary to Ekiti State Government (SSG), Evangelist Adeola Alofe is dead.

Evangelist Alofe died on Sunday at the age of 86, family source disclosed.

The source, also hinted  that the  former SSG, who hailed from Ayetoro Ekiti in Ido/Osi local government area of Ekiti State, died after a brief illness.

It would be recalled that Alofe  was appointed SSG by former Governor Ayodele Fayose in 2003, the position he held till 2005 when he was replaced with the late Chief Bade Gboyega.

The deceased was a member of the House of Representatives between 1991 and 93 under the Social Democratic Party (SDP)/ in the old Ondo State.

He was also appointed Senior Special Assistant on Religious Matters by Governor Kayode Fayemi in 2010, when the court of Appeal in Ilorin pronounced him the actual winner of the 2007 governorship and the 2009 rerun elections.

Alofe was at a time a staunch member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but he later defected to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)/ in Ekiti State.

However, he has not been seen within the political scene since Fayemi won the second term in 2018.

According to a statement signed by a family “With total submission to the will of Almighty Go, the entire Alofe’s family announce the passing away of our beloved brother, uncle, father and grandfather. He slept in the lord on 25th August 2019 at age 86.

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“Funeral arrangements are to be announced by the family in due course”.

 

 

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Makinde Hails Stakeholders’ Quest For Healthy Environment, Restates Zero Tolerance For Filth

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Oyo State Governor, Engr.  Seyi Makinde  has paid a glowing tribute to stakeholders in the environmental sanitation sector for their resilience in restoring the State back to its status as one of the neatest in the nation.

 

The governor’s commendation was relayed through the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola at his office when he hosted the Heads of Local Government Administrators and Heads of Environmental and Health Services as well as officials of the West African Energy, the Consultancy firm in charge of refuse collection in the State.

 

Hon Ayoola said the State appreciated the efforts of the stakeholders in mobilizing against filthy environment and the ways they have demonstrated their support to the government in mobilizing against the menace of poor sanitation.

 

According to him, the governor knew the efforts that you all at the end of the local government health and administrative administrators have put into this campaign of ridding the State of the culture of poor sanitation and he salutes you all.

 

“It is pertinent that we put more efforts into this project so that before long, if we look back, we shall see giant accomplishments in this line and we shall be able to pat each other on the back for a well done job.

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“We appreciate the input of the market women, civil societies, traditional rulers, the media and those officially saddled with the duty of enforcing clean environment in the State. We wish the trend continues in good stead.”

 

The former lawmaker disclosed further that  Oyo State Government has set up an agenda to curb the menace of environmental laws which would go a long way in ensuring  that the safety and healthy condition of its citizens became important.

 

 

He emphasized that  the Present Administration has zero tolerance for filthy environment hence the need for residents to support this policy by imbibing a good waste disposal culture.

 

“Hygiene is very important to us, failure to uphold some level of hygiene would lead to serious health hazards to us as individuals and persons living around us” he added

 

Continuing, Ayoola stressed that as part of the agenda setting, stakeholders like the Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), religious bodies, market women, transport unions, schools among others would be involved in curbing the environmental menace while also charging residents in the state to make use of refuse collection drums for disposal of their waste.

 

Similarly, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola alongside the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju and team members from Water Cooperation Of Oyo State paid a visit to Asejire Waterworks and Eleyele Dam by way of familiarizing with the ongoing projects after his resumption into office and also ensuring that quality water is being supplied to homes for the consumption of the general public

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Hon. Ayoola disclosed that part of the aims of Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration was to re-address issues affecting treatment plants in the state and work towards ensuring that every home has access to portable water.

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In Ogun Truck Crushes Soldier To Death

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A truck, on Friday crushed an officer of the Nigerian Army , identified as R. A. Nata’Ala  to death in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The incident, as learnt occurred when a heavily loaded truck lost control around Iyana Mortuary area of the metropolis.

The truck marked JJJ 833 XW and laden with stone granite, was coming from Idi-Aba end of Ajebo-Ijaiye Road, when the incident occurred around 10:30am, according to an eye witness.

The driver of the truck, as gathered lost control due to brake failure, veered off his lane and killed the soldier.

The security operative, who was said to be riding a motorcycle alongside other vehicles, had been stopped at the intersection by the traffic light when the truck hit him.

Surprisingly, a female who was on the motorcycle with the soldier escaped death as she jumped off the bike before the truck dragged the motorcycle towards a culvert where the victim was slammed.

The female passenger, who was said to also be a soldier, immediately called some of their colleagues from 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, who hurriedly came to evacuate the remains of the deceased.

The driver of the truck was reported to have abandoned the truck and bolted from the scene for fear of being lynched by angry mob.

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Another eyewitness who was at the scene of the accident said there was panic in the area as residents and motorists feared military officers may unleash terror in the area.

The spokesman for the Ogun Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), Babatunde Akinbiyi, confirmed the incident.

He also said the remains of the deceased have been taken to the morgue at State General Hospital, Ijaye.

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