French Billionaire Bernard Arnault Remains Richest Man in the World

Bernard Arnault, a French businessman and investor, remains the richest person on Forbes’ billionaires list with a stunning £233 billion fortune, surpassing Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Forbes estimates that the 75-year-old from Roubaix, France, who oversees the LVMH luxury fashion empire of 75 brands and cosmetics labels, including Louis Vuitton, Sephora, and Tiffany & Co, is worth $22 billion more than he was a year ago.

Arnault experienced historic success with the company through 2024, adding $22 billion to his own fortunes and putting him $38 billion ahead of runner-up Elon Musk, whose fortune grew by a more modest $15 billion to $195 billion this year.

The founder of Tesla and Space X, who acquired Twitter in October 2022, now competes for second position with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. This year, Forbes reported the highest number of billionaires in history, with the latter having an estimated personal fortune of $194 billion.

Despite Meta’s ownership of Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg ranked fourth, trailing only X owner Musk as the second-richest social media owner.Zuckerberg’s fortune increased by $116 billion by 2023 as Meta stock nearly tripled due to cost-cutting measures and investments in AI and the metaverse.

Larry Ellison, Chief Technology Officer at software business Oracle, is the fifth richest entrepreneur this year, worth an estimated $141 billion. Again, the outcome is a significant achievement for the American billionaire, whose net worth was estimated to be $107 billion last year.

The number of billionaires has risen to a record 2,781, up from 2,640 last year. Still dealing with post-pandemic issues such as hiring, firing, and supply chains, the number of global billionaires declined from 2,688 the previous year.

The super-rich are now valued $14.2 trillion, a $2 trillion increase from the previous year and nearly half of the US GDP.

Eight of the world’s ten richest persons are from the United States, making 2023-2024 a very successful year for American investors.

Closing in on the top ten were Spain’s Amancio Ortega of fashion giant Zara in 13th, Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu and family of Telecom, and France’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers and family of L’Oréal.

Michael Platt, co-founder and CEO of BlueCrest Capital Management, and James Ratcliffe, founder of chemical business Ineos Group, were the only two Brits to make the top 200 list, ranking 104th and 111th, respectively, with fortunes worth $18 billion and $16.5 billion.

The United States now has a record 813 billionaires, worth a collective $5.7 billion.

China has the second-highest number of billionaires in the world, with 473, valued a total of $1.7 trillion.

In 2024, Taylor Swift reported a net worth of over a billion dollars for the first time in her career, following a 17-year rise to pop stardom.

George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Jordan are the most popular billionaires, with personal fortunes of $5.5 billion, $4.8 billion, and $3.2 billion.

1. Bernard Arnault (France)

$233 billion: LVMH Empire

Bernard Arnault, 75, became the world’s richest man last year when his net worth surpassed $200 billion. His fortunes have only increased since then, reaching a staggering $233 billion in just 12 months.

Arnault, who began his career with the strategic acquisition of struggling conglomerate Boussac Saint-Freres in 1984, has gone from strength to strength in recent years, benefiting from a massive increase in value from $76 billion to $150 billion between 2020 and 2021 and weathering the turbulent years since with steady growth.

The investor and art collector rose to the top rank in 2022, when LVMH shares soared 35% and he earned $21.7 billion — or €20 billion.In January of that year, LVMH completed a massive luxury fashion business transaction by purchasing Tiffany & Co. for $15.8 billion, and Arnault then moved his son to the leadership of the American jeweler.

Arnault resides in a gorgeous 150-year-old castle in northwest Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France, which has been in the billionaire’s family since 1998, and he also has a stunning residence on the ultra-prestigious Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez estate.

2. Elon Musk (US)

$195 billion – Tesla, SpaceX, and X

Last year, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter (now X) for $44 billion caused him to lose the top spot on Forbes’ annual list.

Forbes reported that Tesla and Space X were thriving, but X was struggling to maintain its prior success and income.

To date, Musk owns around 12% of Tesla, excluding options. Earlier this year, a Delaware judge overturned his 2018 agreement to collect options worth an additional nine percent of the vehicle firm.

Forbes decided to discount the options by 50% pending the outcome of Musk’s appeal in its calculations.

While Twitter, which is currently believed to be worth 70% of what Musk paid in October 2022, has brought Musk issues, Space X is booming, with its value quintupling in four years, according to Forbes.

Musk’s net wealth increased from an estimated $24.6 billion in 2020 to £151 billion in 2021, peaked at $219 billion in 2022, and then fell to $180 billion last year.

The $15 billion increase represents a small but consistent recovery for the 52-year-old.

Read more: Inside Elon Musk’s Twitter Revolution.

3. Jeff Bezos (US)

$194 billion – Amazon

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO of Amazon in 2021, 27 years after launching the e-commerce empire in his garage in 1994.

It happened two years after he divorced his wife MacKenzie in 2019 and gave her a quarter of his then-16% ownership in the company.

Bezos and lover Lauren Sanchez have been seen relaxing on their $500 million superyacht in various destinations across the world. In 2023, they gave a portion of their money to NGOs.

Nonetheless, the 60-year-old’s personal wealth has increased significantly, from $114 billion in 2023 to $194 billion this year.

Bezos is an investor in Altos Labs, a biotechnology startup that aims to increase human longevity by halting or reversing the aging process.

The corporation raised $3 billion in a funding round in January 2022 and is claimed to be recruiting a ‘huge cadre’ of elite scientists with ‘lavish wages’ to push the boundaries of scientific study.

4. Mark Zuckerberg (US)

$177 billion – Meta

‘The Zuck’ did not even reach the top ten list last year, but has experienced significant growth as a result of recent investments in AI and other breakthrough technology.

The Facebook creator was expected to be worth $64.4 billion in 2023, but that figure has risen to $177 billion this year, nearly tripling his personal wealth.

It marks a shift in focus, with a name change to Meta in 2021 intended to signify a push toward the metaverse.

Meta has taken on a new role as the proprietor of Instagram and WhatsApp, while virtual traveling has not yet replaced traditional holiday arrangements or meeting requests.

Despite the failure of Threads, WhatsApp remains the world’s most popular messaging service, with approximately three billion unique active users as of 2023.

5. Larry Ellison (U.S.)

$141 billion – Oracle

Larry Ellison‘s ongoing investment in software behemoth Oracle has seen the entrepreneur’s personal wealth rise gradually in recent years, following a bump at the onset of the epidemic in 2020 and 2021.

Ellison cofounded the American corporation in 1977, but stood down as CEO in 2014 after 37 years in the position.

He continues to serve as chairman and chief technology officer.

Between 2015 and 2016, Ellison’s wealth was reported to have decreased from $54 billion to $43.6 billion.

His wealth have shifted in the years since, with a meteoric rise from $59 billion to $93 billion between 2020 and 2021.

Oracle said in 2019 that it was partnering with longtime rival Microsoft, a move considered as a way for the firm to compete with other online businesses such as Amazon and Google.

Oracle acquired LiveData Utilities, Federos, and in 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively.

In February 2023, the business announced plans to invest $1.5 billion in Saudi Arabia, citing the country’s strong objectives to diversify its economy and enter new tech-driven markets.

Oracle currently generates $48 billion in sales and has $131.6 billion in assets.

6. Warren Buffett (US)

$133 billion – Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett, a regular on most rankings of the world’s wealthiest persons, finished sixth this year, worth an estimated $133 billion.

The 93-year-old American investor and philanthropist is the oldest on Forbes’ list, having founded Buffett Partnership Ltd. in 1956.

Since 1970, the ‘Oracle’ has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway, and he is well-known around the world for his wise financial decisions.

As one of the most successful investors of all time, he owns dozens of businesses, including Geico, Duracell, and Dairy Queen.

Despite his alleged frugality in business, Buffett has stated that he intends to donate 99 percent of his money, primarily through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In reflecting on his work ethic and ideals, he once stated, “I want to give my kids just enough so that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”

Last year, Buffett donated $50 billion to charity, surpassing his estimated worth from 2006.

In 2023, he topped the list for charitable gifts.

7. Bill Gates (U.S.)

$128 billion – Microsoft

Bill Gates, a fellow philanthropist and entrepreneur, ranked seventh in 2024, with an estimated net worth of $128 billion.

According to Forbes, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has a diverse portfolio that includes garbage disposal firm Republic Services.

The 68-year-old, who famously dropped out of Harvard to pursue his business goals with the late Paul Allen, owned only 1.3% of Microsoft’s stock when he stepped down from the board in 2020.

However, clever investments made by family office Cascade Investments have kept Gates at the top of these rankings while donating billions of dollars to charity.

He founded the Gates Foundation with his ex-wife Melinda Gates and gave approximately $59 billion to the organization, whose other benefactors include Warren Buffett.

The foundation recently stated that it would spend $8.6 billion in 2024, its largest budget to date, backed by Gates’ $20 billion pledge in 2022.

It also intends to expand its spending to $9 billion next year and then maintain it at that level.

According to an Oxfam International report released during the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the fortunes of the world’s five richest men have doubled since 2020, and the increasing concentration of wealth could produce the first trillionaire within the next decade.

Jeff Bezos surpassed him in 2018 to become the world’s wealthiest person.

8. Steve Ballmer (U.S.)

$121 billion – Microsoft

Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014, increased his fortune to a staggering $121 billion in 2023.

Ballmer joined the company in 1980 and led it through a period of turbulence before resigning in 2014 to pursue a variety of endeavors.

Ballmer now owns the Los Angeles Clippers, which he bought for $2 billion in 2014 and is now projected to be worth $4.65 billion.

He also committed $425 million to the University of Oregon in 2022 to establish a center to address the behavioral and mental health needs of local youngsters.

Forbes estimates that Ballmer and his family have handed away up to $3.5 billion to date.

The Stanford dropout, like his colleagues, had a significant increase in personal wealth over the last year, rising from an estimated $80.7 billion in 2023.

9. Mukesh Ambani (India)

$116 billion – Reliance

Mukesh Ambani of India finished ninth this year, worth an estimated $116 billion.

According to Forbes, Ambani is the chairman and CEO of Reliance Industries, which has holdings in petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecom, retail, and financial services.His company has promised to invest up to $80 billion in renewable energy and a new complex over the next 10-15 years.

Ambani’s late father launched Reliance, which began as a tiny textile manufacturing company in 1966.

Currently, its broadband branch serves roughly half a billion users.

Ambani also owns the Indian Premier tournament side Mumbai Indians and founded the Indian Super League football tournament.

He lives at the Antilia, which has been valued at up to $4.6 billion.

10. Larry Page (US)

$114 billion – Google

Larry Page, the former Managing Director of Google, ranked tenth this year, with a personal fortune worth $114 billion.

Page launched Google in 1998 with fellow Stanford student Sergey Brin and served as CEO until 2001.

He returned as CEO of Alphabet – Google’s parent company – from 2011 to 2015, before stepping down in 2019.

Page continues in crucial positions and has supervised a significant increase in wealth from $79.2 billion in 2023.

Page’s personal fortune plummeted between 2022 and 2023 before recovering significantly by the time of the most recent estimations.



Leave a Reply