Less than a month after reaching the pinnacle of a $200 billion net worth for the third time in late April, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos can no longer claim to be the richest person in the world. He now has a neighbor at the top spot: French billionaire Bernard Arnault, the head of luxury goods group LVMH, ended the day $800 million richer—with a net worth of $186 billion—after the company’s shares closed nearly half a percent higher in Europe. On the other side of the Atlantic, Amazon stock dropped by a little more than 1% on Friday, shaving $2.3 billion from Bezos’ net worth and placing both men at the $186 billion mark.
For a brief moment just before the market closed in New York on Friday, Arnault was roughly $100 million richer than Bezos and alone at the top. It’s not the first time that’s happened: At around 10:30 am ET on December 16, 2019, Arnault edged past Bezos until Amazon stock eventually closed higher, knocking the French tycoon back to number two.
Both men are $76 billion richer since then, and their fortunes have grown along with the share price of LVMH and Amazon. When Forbes published our 2021 World’s Billionaires list in early April, with net worths calculated based on stock prices on March 5, Bezos ranked No. 1, with $177 billion, while Arnault was in third place, with $150 billion. In between the two men, at No. 2, was Tesla chief Elon Musk. Since then, LVMH shares have soared by nearly 21%, triple the 7% rise in Amazon stock.
LVMH posted a record $16.7 billion revenues in the first quarter of 2021 as customers—particularly in the U.S. and China—returned to buying the conglomerate’s luxury fashion, watches and jewelry. The company’s brands include Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Marc Jacobs Christian Dior and Fendi, plus many others. LVMH’s strong recovery from the pandemic’s impact on the fashion industry has helped Arnault grow more than $100 billion richer since the depths of the market rout in early March 2020; He was worth $76 billion on Forbes’ 2020 billionaires list, which was calculated using stock prices from mid March 2020.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos has been selling Amazon shares since he announced in February that he would step down as CEO later this year, selling $6.6 billion (pre-tax) worth of Amazon shares over three weeks in May. Amazon stock has fallen nearly 8% since hitting a high of $3,471.3 on April 29, when the e-commerce giant announced $108.5 billion in first quarter 2021 sales, beating expectations.