Bernard Arnault is the second richest individual on the earth, including billions as market rallies

Bernard Arnault, billionaire and managing director of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, comes to speak as the luxury brand announces annual profits on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 in Paris, France.

Christophe Morin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Luxury king Bernard Arnault has reclaimed the title of second richest person in the world with a net worth of more than $ 137 billion after a recent surge in LVMH’s share price.

Arnault increased his net worth by $ 7 billion on Monday as European stocks and luxury companies skyrocketed on Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine news.

Europe’s richest man, LVMH chairman and CEO, has added around $ 16 billion to his fortune in the past two weeks – more than the entire purchase price of jewelry giant Tiffany.

LVMH, which owns luxury brands like Louis Vitton, Christian Dior, and Moet & Chandon, agreed last year to buy Tiffany for $ 16 billion. The two companies fought a bitter legal battle over the purchase price this fall and eventually agreed to cut the price by $ 400 million.

Forbes now ranks Arnault the second richest person in the world after Jeff Bezos, who is valued at around 184 billion US dollars. Arnault took second place in 2019 but fell back in the rankings when LVMH stock slumped during the coronavirus pandemic. Bill Gates, formerly number two, is now third at $ 119 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time tracking.

The Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, which uses a different method, placed Arnault behind Gates at $ 103 billion – still behind Arnault’s previous high of $ 109 billion, according to Bloomberg. In the rankings, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are worth $ 103 billion.

However, both rankings show that the stock market boom of the past two weeks has brought tremendous wealth to the world’s billionaires. There are now five billionaires worldwide with assets of over 100 billion US dollars – a first, according to Bloomberg. The 500 richest people in the world added $ 1.2 trillion to their wealth this year despite the world slipping into an economic crisis and pandemic.

However, the decline in tech stocks has also shaved the fate of the big tech titans. Bezos saw his net worth drop by $ 9 billion on Monday, while Zuckerberg saw his net worth drop by $ 5.5 billion. On Wednesday, as the vaccine rally reached its third day, Facebook and Amazon stocks traded higher.

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