Something that would have been absolutely unthinkable 12 months ago just happened. At 10:05 am PST on December 13, 2022, Elon Musk lost his position as the world’s richest person. He has been overtaken by LVMH founder Bernard Arnault. With a net worth of $168 billion, Bernard Arnault is now the world’s richest person for the first time in his life. His fortune is $3 billion greater than Elon Musk’s current $165 billion net worth.
Why would this have been unthinkable just one year ago? At this time last December, Elon Musk’s net worth was $300 billion. At that level he was the richest person in the world be a margin of $110 billion. The second richest person in the world wasn’t Bernard Arnault. It was Jeff Bezos. Back then Bernard was worth $150 billion and Jeff was worth $190 billion.
Elon was the first person in history to achieve a net worth that topped $300 billion without adjusting for inflation. And his net worth had actually reached an all-time high of $340 billion just a month earlier, on November 4. When his fortune hit $340 billion (which only lasted a day or two) Elon Musk became the richest human in modern history, overtaking John D. Rockefeller’s inflation-adjusted wealth record that stood for over 80 years.
As this was all going on, some very smart people thought $300 billion was just the first stop towards a much MUCH larger fortune. The valuations of Elon’s two main companies, Tesla and SpaceX were soaring. The stock market as a whole was ripping to all time highs. No one was thinking about inflation, recessions, or World War III. At this time, a handful of very smart people were actually predicting that Elon was on his way to becoming the world’s first TRILLIONAIRE.
So imagine if I told you a year ago that not only was Elon NOT on his way to becoming a trillionaire, but in a year he wouldn’t even be worth $300 billion anymore. He wouldn’t be worth $200 billion. He wouldn’t even be the world’s richest person! Oh and he would own Twitter.
Elon was the richest person on the planet pretty much uninterrupted for 705 days between January 7, 2021 and today.
It’s obviously impossible to know how long Bernard Arnault reign will last. I don’t think many people would have predicted Elon would have held the spot for so long back in early 2021.
Bernard is the CEO and founder of LVMH which owns luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessy (hence “LVMH), Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Tiffany & Co.
He owns roughly 47% of the company’s outstanding shares. As of this writing, LVMH’s market cap is $384 billion.