The Frenchman, who added $14.5bn to his fortune so far this year and is now worth $83.1bn, edged past Buffett by about $100mn to join the top three for the first time since Bloomberg’s wealth ranking debuted in 2012. Arnault, the chairman of Louis Vuitton parent LVMH, is also the only European other than Zara owner Amancio Ortega of Spain to reach third on the list.
Most of Arnault’s wealth is tied to his holdings of Christian Dior and LVMH, with shares of both jumping 20% this year on record sales, defying a slowdown in China.
Arnault’s 2018 gains rival those of Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, who has added $15.2bn to his fortune, which now stands at $140.1bn on the Bloomberg index. Only Mark Zuckerberg has had a better start to the year, with the Facebook Inc. co-founder’s fortune climbing by $15.3bn.