Bernard Arnault Net Worth: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images) French billionaire Bernard Arnault has pledged 200 Euros to restore Notre Dame Cathedral.

Europe’s wealthiest man, Bernard Arnault of the luxury LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) group, is pledging €200 million to renovate Notre Dame Cathedral after it was ravaged by a devastating fire on April 15. LVMH issued a statement on its website that it would work to restore the historic 850-year-old church to its original grandeur. The cathedral attracts approximately 13 million visitors annually.

Arnault’s pledge came after French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on Monday night and said, “Notre Dame is our history, it is our literature, it is our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations… I’m telling you all tonight – we will rebuild this cathedral together.”

Here’s what you need to know about Bernard Arnault’s net worth and his efforts to restore Notre Dame Cathedral.

1. Arnault’s Net Worth is Estimated at $91.3 Billion

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH | The Brave OnesThe Brave Ones – In collaboration with Credit Suisse: Bernard Arnault is France’s richest man and the mastermind behind the world’s biggest luxury group, LVMH. But even he had his doubters early on. Subscribe to CNBC Life: Subscribe to CNBC International: Like our Facebook page Follow us on Instagram Follow us…2018-04-28T09:00:04.000Z

Forbes has listed Arnault, CEO of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, as the richest person in Europe and the fourth richest person in the world. As of April 2019, Arnault’s estimated net worth is $91.3 billion. Forbes calls Arnault one of the world “ultimate taste-makers, “who manages approximately 70 high-end brands. During the first half of 2019, Arnaud’s fortune increased by almost $22 billion according to Bloomberg.

While Arnault was born into a well-to-do family that worked in construction, his family did not have the extreme wealth he enjoys today. Arnault started his career as a civil engineer and planned to work for his father’s construction company. He credits his father with giving him his keen business sense and recalls when at 25, his father handed him the keys to the firm. “I think you are able to run the business, so let’s do it,” his father said.

One of Arnault’s first major financial moves was to use money from his father’s construction business to buy up real estate. By 1985 he was able to put up $15 million to buy the Christian Dior brand. “I am very competitive. I always wanted to win,” he said in the documentary, The Brave Ones.

2. Arnault Owns Brands Including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy Hennessy and Dom Perignon

LVMH owns a number of luxury fashion and beauty brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Givenchy. In addition to controlling major fashion houses, LVMH controls several exclusive alcohol brands including Dom Perignon, Hennessy, and Veuve Clicquot.

In his quest to dominate the luxury market, he bought Princess Yachts for €253 million in 2008. Forbes reported that prices for a Princess yacht start at £300,000 and go up to around £6m for a 100-foot boat. “You won’t find a price list; Princess is far too discreet for that,” they revealed. It wasn’t long before Arnault added Royal Van Lent shipyard, a high-end yacht builder, to his portfolio after paying approximately the same price.

Arnault currently controls about half of LVMH, which currently works with a number of innovative designers who are continually coming up with in-demand luxury items for the global market. In 2018, LVMH posted record profits attributed to increased spending in the Chinese market. One of his most profitable brands is Louis Vuitton, which had higher-than-expected sales of handbags and leather goods. Some of his other business interests include Netflix and Blue Capital.

3. Arnault is Also Pledging Other Forms of Assistance to Help Notre Dame

A statement released by the company on their website’s front page said LVMH’s donation would show “solidarity with this national tragedy” and that funds would be used to rebuild this “extraordinary Cathedral.” But it went beyond discussing the monetary pledge by saying that LVMH’s corporate talent would also be donated.

Describing Notre Dame Cathedral as a “symbol of French heritage and unity,” LVMH said that it’s creative and financial teams would be made available to assist with rebuilding and soliciting donations.“The LVMH group puts at the disposal of the state and the relevant authorities all its teams – including creative, architectural and financial specialists – to help with the long work of reconstruction and fundraising which is already in progress.”

The company’s public statement said that its efforts will be dedicated to reconstructing the Cathedral’s architecture “which is a core part of the French history.” It is unknown how long it will take to restore the church, which was consumed by flames for over nine hours.

4. Arnault is a Highly Regarded in the Art World

ARTNEWS has called Arnault a “major player” in the art world. Arnault also has an extensive personal art collection with works by Picasso Andy Warhol, Henry Moore and Yves Klein. He and his wife Helene have been included in ARTNEWS’ list of the top 200 art collectors since 2006.

From 1999 to 2003 he owned the art auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, which he purchased for $110 million. The company describes itself as “the destination for international collectors to buy and sell the world’s most important contemporary works of art.” Arnault then merged the company with Tajan, an auction house which specializes in fine art, luxury furniture and jewelry. The merger was described by as a “revolution in the Parisian auction world.”

Arnault company LVMH has also developed a reputation as a major patron of art in France. The company opened the Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2014, which has developed into one of the most highly regarded contemporary art museums in Paris.”Driven by its mission to serve the public, the Fondation is committed to making art and culture accessible to all,” says the museum’s website.

5.France’s Two Other Wealthiest French Families Have Pledged Major Donations to Restore Notre Dame Cathedral

In addition to the Arnaults, Frances two other wealthiest families have offered financial assistance to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral. The Bettencourt-Myers family says it will match Arnault’s donation while the Pinault family has pledged €100 million.

The Bettencourt-Meyers family, which owns the luxury cosmetic brand L’Oreal announced that they would be contributing to the Cathedral’s restoration. The family along with their Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, will be donating a total of €200 million. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is the world’s wealthiest woman and heads up the family’s philanthropic foundation to advance the arts and sciences in France.

French billionaire François–Henri Pinault has pledged €100 million. Husband of acclaimed actress Salma Hayek, Pinault is the CEO of the Kering and French holding company Artemis which owns brands including Yves St. Laurent, Balenciaga, Gucci, and Alexander McQueen. “My father and I have decided to release as of now from the funds of Artemis a sum of €100 million to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame,” he said, according to the Huffington Post.

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