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The latest member of the $100 bn club!

June 21, 2019 14:49 IST
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It is so exclusive that it has just three members.

Until Thursday, June 20, Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, and Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, were its only members.

The $100 billion club, that's what we are talking about.

Membership is open to anyone whose personal wealth is over 100 billion dollars.

Its latest member is a Frenchman. Bernard Arnault's fortune is now estimated at $100.4 billion.

Arnault is the CEO of the LVMH group which makes Louis Vuitton handbags and Hennessy cognac among other things, both hugely popular in China.

Bloomberg noted that Arnault's fortune grew by $32 billion in 2019, the largest rise on its 500-member Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

His wealth, one report stated, now equals more than 3% of France's economy!

Among LVMH's other products are Dom Pérignon champagne and Sephora. Arnault also owns a 97% stake in the fashion house Christian Dior.


Gates became the planet's first $100 billionaire 20 years ago, in 1999.

Bezos joined him in November 2017; Amazon's CEO is now the wealthiest man on the third rock from the sun, with a personal fortune estimated at $ 119 billion (though how much of that he will lose after his divorce comes through, we will need to wait and see).

Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault is 70 years old and built his current business empire from scratch, using his father's wealth as capital.

Glimpses from the billionaire's life:

Bernard Arnault

IMAGE: Then United States President-elect Donald J Trump with LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault and his son Alexandre Arnault after their meeting at Trump Tower in New York, January 9, 2017. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Bernard Arnault

IMAGE: Italian designer Giorgio Armani, left, shakes hands with Bernard Arnault as his wife smiles at the end of Armani's Autumn/Winter 1999/2000 collection for men at a fashion show in Milan January 13, 1999. Photograph: Reuters

Bernard Arnault

IMAGE: Diana, princess of Wales, accompanied by Bernard Arnault, leave the Elysee palace after a meeting with then French president's wife Bernadette Chirac, September 25, 1995. Photograph: Reuters

Bernard Arnault

IMAGE: Bernard Arnault, centre, who owns Christian Dior, flanked by designer Karl Lagerfeld, right, and Pierre Berger, left, head of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, during a Christian Dior show in Paris, July 2, 2001. Photograph: Reuters

Bernard Arnault

IMAGE: Then French president Jacques Chirac and then Chinese president Hu Jintao visit a French impressionist painters exhibition in Beijing.
Left to right: Then French first lady Bernadette Chirac, Paris Orsay museum curator Serge Lemoine, then Chinese president's wife Liu Yongqing, then Chinese president Hu Jintao, then French president Jacques Chirac and Bernard Arnault alongside Edouard Manet's painting Le Fifre, October 10, 2004. Photograph: Philippe Wojaze/Reuters

Bernard Arnault

IMAGE: Bernard Arnault, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, French President Emmanuel Macron and IBM's President and CEO Virginia Rometty at the opening of the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, May 24, 2018. Photograph: Michel Eule/Reuters

Bernard Arnault

IMAGE: Bernard Arnault at the LVMH shareholders meeting in Paris, April 18, 2019. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
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