There's been a shakeup at the top of the list of the world's richest people, and we're not talking about Jeff Bezos pushing Bill Gates out of the top spot. Bernard Arnault, CEO and chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the top luxury products group in the world, has jumped a few spots on the billionaire list. He's now the fifth-richest person in the world, making him wealthier than Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
LVMH posted record sales of 42.6 billion Euros in 2017. That's a 13% rise over 2016. Net profit for the company is up 29%. This news caused LVMH's stock to surge 5% last Friday. Of course, the biggest victor in that was Arnault, who owns more than 5% of LVMH's stock. He gained $3.5 billion in net worth in just hours. By noon on Friday his net worth had surged to $77.9 billion. Arnault has added more than $36 billion to his fortune in the past year, moving him from 11th place to fifth, and catapulting him past Michael Bloomberg, the Koch brothers, Larry Ellison, Carlos Slim, and Mark Zuckerberg.
This has been a good year for Arnault. Last April, Arnault announced a $13 billion deal to purchase Christian Dior and make it a part of LVMH. He has owned Dior since 1984, but held it as a separate entity from LVMH. Arnault owns 97% of the shares of Christian Dior which represents the bulk of his fortune. Shares of Dior are up 38% since last April, and rose almost 5% on Friday. Arnault has been at the helm of LVMH since 1989. The conglomerate owns 70 luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, Dom Perignon, and Bulgari.