His latest acquisition has been the Casa degli Atellani, a splendid mansion on Corso Magenta, Milan, just opposite the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Leonardo da Vinci painted The Last Supper. Right behind the building is the vineyard that, at the end of the 15th century, the Duke of Milan gave to the great Tuscan genius.
It is not yet known what Bernard Arnault will do with this estate, which is now open to the public. It is a whim that the French tycoon, top executive of the luxury group LVMH, can afford now that his assets reach, according to the latest valuation of Forbes, some 188,000 million dollars, which makes him the richest man on the planet, after dethroning Elon Musk, caught up in his problems with Twitter and Tesla.
Almost everything is known about Arnault and has been written ad nauseam. But in recent weeks the veteran French businessman has made headlines for some noteworthy moves (Leonardo's vineyard aside).
Following in the footsteps of other icons in the world of fashion such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and all the other leading houses of his great empire, Bernard Arnault, 73, has just shielded his own name, by registering it -through a company of his holding– as a business brand. In other words, "Bernard Arnault" from now on can potentially become a commercial brand.
Who would have thought that this Frenchman who started in public works, cement and real estate development as a young man would become the master of the most prestigious luxury brands... including his own?
There is an anecdote about this that has never been officially confirmed. They say that when Arnault lived in the US, he got into a taxi and the driver told him that he did not know who the president of France was, but that he did know Dior. There he would have decided to land in a sector that at the end of the eighties was experiencing difficulties – textiles – and that the French State wanted someone to take charge of. Whether the story is true or not, from Dior Bernard Arnault has been conquering the most prestigious brands. After its latest acquisitions, that of the Tiffany jewelry store and the Belmond hotel company, its empire now encompasses more than 75 brands and LVMH (an acronym for Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) has already become the largest company in Europe by market capitalization this year ( about 350,000 million euros).
After so much growth, for the "silent owner of luxury" the time has come to think about the succession. Although he has some sane left for a while (the statutes have been modified so that he can continue to lead the group until he is 80 years old) the news of a transformation in the shareholding structure of his companies is recent.
Arnault has five children from two marriages (Delphine, Antoine, Alexandre, Frédéric and Jean). Of all, only Delphine is listed on the group's Executive Committee as executive vice president. The other sons work in some empire firms. But who is now climbing the steps of power (and in the pools) is Antoine, 45, who has just been appointed CEO of Christian Dior Se, the holding company that precisely controls LVMH (through 41% of the capital and 56 % of voting rights) to replace Sidney Toledano. While waiting for the future to clarify who will be the dolphin, this changing of the guard will ensure that the family does not lose control of the assets. Which by the way are getting more and more expensive.
Indeed, while in the last decade the consecrated surnames of American technology, from Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos through Elon Musk, have monopolized the front pages and the media spotlight, little has been said about the fact that the Arnaults have doubled their fortune in the last decade. last three years, always keeping a low profile. Rising inflation hasn't put off consumers who continue to look to their brands for status and protection. And who also aspire to one day walk through the vineyards trampled down by Leonardo da Vinci as if they were in his house.