Bernard Arnault Once Again The World’s Richest Person After Jeff Bezos Loses Nearly $14 Billion In One Day

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Bernard Arnault

Jeff Bezos is no longer the richest man on the planet, and this time it’s not because he physically left Earth on a Blue Origin rocket. Amazon shares fell 7.6 percent Friday after the company reported second-quarter earnings Thursday afternoon — a single day in which its founder’s fortune dropped by $13.9 billion, and Bezos was behind French tycoon Bernard Arnault.

Shares of Arnault-owned luxury goods conglomerate LVMH fell 1.4 percent on Friday, which also made Arnault $2.9 billion poorer, but he still ended the week with a fortune of $192.9 billion, $500 million ahead of Bezos. In late May and early June, the two were playing a game of chicken for first place, but Bezos has spent the last 50 days as the world’s richest man, despite his brief interstellar excursion on July 20.

After becoming more than $100 billion richer in the first year of the pandemic, the LVMH rally dragged on for most of the summer. Arnault owns 47 percent of the company, which has a market capitalization of more than $400 billion. Its subsidiaries include Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon, Christian Dior and Tiffany & Co.

Despite the stock’s decline, Amazon fell far short of its second-quarter performance. The company had revenue of $113 billion, up 27 percent from the same period last year, and net income of $7.8 billion. But shareholders had hoped the embarrassing riches would be even greater, especially after first-quarter revenue rose 44%. Amazon said Thursday that it forecast third-quarter revenue of $106 billion to $112 billion, lower than the $119 billion analysts expected. Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky attributed the slowdown to people feeling more comfortable leaving home to shop and spend money on other activities, compared with last spring and summer during the epidemic.

Amazon’s fall also lowered the net worth of Bezos’ ex-wife, McKenzie Scott, to about $56 billion, down $4.6 billion from Friday, making her the 22nd richest person in the world.

Besides Bezos and Scott, most of the biggest loser billionaires of the week reside in China, where stocks continue to plummet because of the country’s ongoing crackdown on technology. This month, Chinese authorities forced app stores to remove Didi within days of its U.S. IPO, damaged online tutoring companies by requiring them to register as nonprofit organizations, required food delivery companies to provide more protection for their drivers, and demanded that tech conglomerate Tencent give up exclusive licensing rights to online music.

Tencent CEO Ma Huateng’s fortune fell $4.7 billion to $47.5 billion this week as the company’s stock fell 8.5 percent. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks the performance of China’s largest listed stocks, is down 5.5% this week, and the Hang Seng Index, which tracks the Hong Kong stock market, is down 5%.

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