Saturday Mar 5, 1949 to Present
Paris, FranceBernard Jean Étienne Arnault (born March 5, 1949) is a French billionaire business magnate, and art collector. He is the chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, LVMH, the world's largest luxury-goods company.
Boussac owned Christian Dior, the department store Le Bon Marché, the retail shop Conforama, and the diapers manufacturer Peaudouce. Arnault sold nearly all the company's assets, keeping only the prestigious Christian Dior brand and Le Bon Marché department store.
In November 2019, Arnault planned to acquire Tiffany & Co. for approximately US $16.2 billion. The deal was expected to close by June 2020. LVMH then issued a statement in September 2020 indicating that the takeover would not proceed and that the deal was "invalid" because of Tiffany's handling of the business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In mid-September 2020, a reliable source told Forbes (magazine) that the reason for Arnault's decision to cancel the Tiffany purchase was purely financial: Tiffany was paying millions in dividends to shareholders despite a financial loss of US$32 million during the pandemic. Upon examination of financial records, Arnault discovered that some US$70 million had already been paid out by Tiffany, with an additional US$70 million scheduled to be paid in November 2020.
In late October 2020, Tiffany and LVMH agreed to the original takeover plan, though at a slightly reduced price of nearly $16 billion, a minor reduction of 2.6% from the aforementioned deal. The new deal reduced the amount paid per share by LVMH from the original price of $135 to $131.50.
Arnault has promoted decisions towards decentralizing the group's brands as a business strategy. As a result of these measures, brands under the LVMH umbrella such as Tiffany are still viewed as independent firms with their own history. For a very brief period on May 24, 2021, Arnault temporarily became the richest man in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos with a net worth of 187.3 billion dollars. A few hours later, however, Amazon stock ticked up and Jeff Bezos retook the spot and reclaimed it.