Bill Gates Reclaims Spot As World’s Second-Richest Person
After less than a week as the world’s second-richest person, luxury goods titan Bernard Arnault has dropped down to third place, according to Forbes’ calculations, following a decline in the share price of LVMH. Bill Gates, boosted by stronger Microsoft stock, returned to his spot as the second-richest person in the world.
Arnault, whose conglomerate LVMH is behind brands such as Louis Vuitton and Moet & Chandon, saw his net worth drop down to $100.7 billion on Thursday—about $2.5 billion less than one week ago. LVMH shares have fallen 1.7% in the past week. Gates moved back into the No. 2 spot; his net worth jumped to a current $104 billion, from $102.9 billion last week, amid an uptick in the price of Microsoft’s shares.
Last week marked the first time since 2008 that Gates had not been either the richest or second-richest person in the world. Both Gates and Arnault have a ways to go to catch up to the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos. Bezos has a net worth of roughly $162.9 billion; he has said he will give his ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, a quarter of his Amazon shares, now worth about $39 billion, which would still put him ahead of Gates by roughly $20 billion.
Some of the decline in LVMH shares is likely tied to its announcement on Wednesday of first-half results. The company posted a 15% increase in revenues, to $27.9 billion (€25.1 billion). However, the company’s operating profit came up slightly short of analyst expectations. It was reported at $5.9 billion (nearly 5.3 billion euros), compared to the $5.98 billion analysts predicted.
LVMH’s fashion and leather goods business continues to be the company’s highest revenue driver with $11.6 billion in sales, up 21% from last year.
“These results once again illustrate the effectiveness of our strategy and the exceptional desirability of our Maisons, whose products transcend time,” Arnault said in a press release. “Their constant demand for quality and their consistently refreshed creativity are key to LVMH's success, always guided by a long-term vision, combining exemplarity and responsibility in all the company's actions.”
It’s been a busy year so far for Arnault. Last week, LVMH announced a venture with fashion designer Stella McCartney. In April, the company acquired luxury hotel and restaurant group Belmond for $3.2 billion.
Only five people in the world have officially ranked first or second richest in our annual billionaire rankings since 2001: Bezos, Gates, Warren Buffett, Zara’s Amancio Ortega and Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helu.