Bernard Arnault: who is world’s richest man, LVMH net worth - is he richer than Elon Musk?

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As Tesla shares drop in value and his Twitter takeover continues to look shakey, Musk has lost his title

With shares in his French LVMH luxury goods company reaching historic highs, Bernard Arnault, the richest man in the world, has seen his net worth surpass $200 billion (£160 million) for the first time.

The 74-year-old is only the third individual in history to have accumulated an estimated fortune more than $200 billion (£160 billion). Elon Musk of Tesla and Jeff Bezos of Amazon had achieved the feat before their wealth declined as the share prices of technology businesses sank.

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After a significant decline in the value of shares in electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla last year, Musk is no longer the richest person in the world. He has held the top place since 2021.

Musk’s beleaguered takeover of Twitter has been pointed to as a reason behind the drop in Tesla share prices, with many financial experts labelling the prolonged process a “distraction”.

But why has Musk’s value dropped so dramatically, and who has overtaken him as the richest person in the world? Here is everything you need to know.

Why is Musk no longer the world’s richest person?

The decline in Tesla share prices has been attributed to Musk’s ill-fated acquisition of Twitter, with many financial experts dubbing the drawn-out process a "distraction."

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Musk’s Twitter deal was only finalised earlier this year after months of legal battles. After investing heavily in the social media giant at the beginning of 2022 Musk made a $44 billion offer in April, which many people thought was excessively costly.

He backed out of the agreement in July, citing worries about the volume of spam accounts on the network. In the end, Twitter officials filed a lawsuit to enforce Musk’s initial offer. In order to finance his acquisition, Musk sold billions of dollars worth of Tesla shares, which aided in the price decline.

(Photos: Getty Images)(Photos: Getty Images)
(Photos: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Investors are also concerned that as the economy weakens, higher financing costs deter consumers, and rival companies increase their electric vehicle offers, demand for the company’s own cars may slow.

Since Twitter came into Musk’s ownership, it has been beset by mismanagement claims, bungled attempts to monetise its once free ‘Blue Tick’ verification systems and mass employee walkouts, which have left it struggling to moderate hate speech and dangerous far-right content.

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Most recently, Twitter disbanded its Trust and Safety Council, a coalition of around 100 independent civil rights, human rights and other organisations set up in 2016 to address issues like hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm, and other issues on the platform.

The council was due to meet with Twitter representatives on Monday (12 December) night, but according to multiple members, it was told through email that it was dissolving it just before the scheduled meeting.

Who is now the richest person in the world?

The title of the World’s Richest Person has now been bestowed upon Bernard Arnault, the head of luxury goods company LVMH, according to Forbes and Bloomberg.

Forbes estimates that Musk is currently worth around $178 billion (£144 billion). In contrast, Bernard Arnault is worth $188 billion (£152 billion).

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Bernard Arnault is a French business magnate, investor and art collector who is the co-founder, chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, the world’s largest luxury goods company.

The company was formed in 1987 through the merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with Moët Hennessy, itself established following the 1971 merger between champagne producer Moët & Chandon and cognac producer Hennessy.

In 2021, with a valuation of $329 billion (£266 billion), LVMH became the most valuable company in Europe.

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