Bernard Arnault – Economipedia

Bernard Arnault, born in 1949, is a French businessman who heads the prestigious firm Dior and the luxury goods company LVMH.

Within the large conglomerate of companies chaired by Arnault, Dior stands out, as it is the pillar of his business. Considered one of the richest men in the world, he also owns other luxury brands such as TAG Heuer, Hennessy, Givenchy, Moët Chandon, Don Pérignon, Louis Vouiton, Bulgari, Fendi, Kenzo and Marc Jacobs.

Bernard Arnault’s youth and beginnings in his professional career

Born in 1949 in the French town of Roubaix, he trained as an engineer at the Palaiseau Polytechnic School. Already in 1971 he began to work in the construction company that his father directed and redirected the family business towards the real estate sector.

This is how Férinel emerged, a company that offered holiday accommodation. However, the rise of François Mitterrand to the French presidency caused Bernard Arnault to move to the United States in 1981. And it is that Arnault’s interests collided with the fiscal policy that Mitterrand intended to implement.

Once settled in Florida, Arnault started Férinel Inc, a company that operated in the resort sector.

return to France

In 1984 an opportunity presented itself for Arnault. The Boussac group was bankrupt and the acquisition of said network of companies allowed him to acquire a firm like Christian Dior. The purchase price was fixed at 1 franc.

Arnault ended up getting rid of most of the assets of the Boussac group. His only interest was the Dior companies and the Le Bon Marché department store.

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Arnault’s idea was to make Dior a firm of high quality and prestige not only for France, but also internationally. Thus, he entered the perfume sector and built a business colossus in the world of luxury by buying companies such as Moët Hennessy and Louis Vouiton. This is how the LVMH group emerged in 1987.

An unstoppable trajectory of Bernard Arnault

In order to avoid being blocked by the shareholders and avoid the dismantling of LVMH, Arnault increased his participation in the company. For this, he acquired shares of LVMH in 1988 and 1989 for a value of 600 million dollars and 500 million dollars in respective purchases. Precisely, in 1989 he took command of the board of directors of the LVMH group.

As part of his positioning strategy based on prestige, Arnault granted autonomy to the companies that made up the group he chaired. Coupled with her autonomy, Arnault granted ample creative freedom to her personal one (until now).

However, despite the freedom granted, Arnault remains attentive to developments in the sector and supervises his business. Thanks to this, his companies project an image of independence, high category and extensive tradition.

Another key aspect of Arnault’s strategy is that already consolidated companies with extensive experience contribute to the financing of emerging businesses.

Similarly, Arnault continued to incorporate new companies in the perfume and fashion sector. Noteworthy are the names of Sephora, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, DKNY, Thomas Pink, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, La Samaritaine and Guerlain.

Diversifying investments

It is worth emphasizing that Arnault’s businesses are widely diversified, being present in the hospitality, telecommunications and supermarket sectors.

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This is how Arnault bought newspapers such as La Tribune (which he spun off in 2007) and Les Échos. Nor should we forget that he is the majority shareholder of a large distribution group such as Carrefour and that he owns several web companies that he directs through the Europatweb holding company.

Furthermore, Arnault, as a prominent businessman in the luxury sector, owns yacht manufacturing companies such as Princess Yachts and Royal van Lent.

a difficult road

It is true that Bernard Arnault’s business career has been plagued with successes, but he has also had to face numerous challenges and strong competition. A clear example is the tough business struggle that he maintains with businessman François Pinault, his great competitor in the luxury sector.

Within the framework of this constant struggle for the market, Arnault not only visits his own stores, but is also aware of the movements of the competition, which leads him to go through the establishments of rival companies.

On the other hand, this fierce competition has led Arnault to act aggressively in the market, above all, when making takeover bids. In fact, there are many who have come to qualify it as a predator.

Within these challenges, China has been a source of opportunities and a succulent market for the companies chaired by Arnault. The Asian giant, which increasingly demands more luxury products, has become Bernard Arnault’s great market.

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