French Businessman Bernard Arnault Buys Stake in Johann Rupert’s Richemont

Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has acquired an unknown interest in Richemont, the Swiss luxury goods firm held by Johann Rupert, South Africa’s wealthiest individual.

The magnitude of Arnault’s investment, which is not publicly disclosed, has fueled speculation about a possible takeover effort. Richemont, managed by Rupert, has a market valuation of $86 billion and owns iconic brands including Cartier, Chloé, and Van Cleef & Arpels. The company expanded its range with the acquisition of Italian jeweler Vhernier S.p.A.

Bernard Arnault’s recent acquisition confirms LVMH’s interest in Richemont, as reported last year. However, Johann Rupert, who makes $9.5 billion from his Richemont holding, has stated a wish to keep the company independent.

Arnault, the world’s third-richest person with a $205 billion fortune, recognized this in a statement, stating, “I consider Johann Rupert an exceptional leader and have no desire to interfere in his strategy.” I realize that he wants to remain independent; I think that’s great, and if he needs help to do so, I’ll be there.

Under Arnault’s leadership, LVMH has grown to become the world’s largest luxury corporation, valued at $393 billion. Its stable includes Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Tiffany & Co., which it paid $15.8 billion to purchase in 2021.

Analysts see Richemont as a potential strategic fit for LVMH, citing its financial strength and extensive history of brand management, as the French conglomerate tries to expand its dominance in the luxury market.

Johann Rupert led Richemont to record-breaking sales of over $20 billion in fiscal 2024. Gross profit also increased to €14.04 billion ($15.22 billion) from €13.72 billion ($14.88 billion) in 2023.

Despite macroeconomic and geopolitical concerns, revenues increased to €20.6 billion ($22.4 billion) from €19.95 billion ($21.67 billion) the year before, reflecting an 8% gain at constant exchange rates and a 3% increase at actual values.

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