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Walker Laurent Inc Bernard Arnault: The Wolf In Cashmere

Walker Laurent Inc News

Bernard Arnault: The Wolf In Cashmere

LVMH rules the global luxury market with its 75 luxury fashion brands [including primarily Dior & more recently Tiffany] that, before its incorporation and agglomeration starting in the 1980s onwards, were typically relatively small, family-run businesses of jewelry, perfumes, fashion, cosmetics, watches. Moet Hennessey was added by a merger that included the upmarket drink business of spirits, liquor, wine and champagne, including Dom Perignon, Krug and Hennessey brandy.

More recently, since 2006, hotels have been added under the Cheval Blanc brand, including the famed Belmond group [formerly Orient Express Group] with 35 hotels and last month, the new Cheval Blanc in Paris was opened to rave reviews to complement the Luxe and exclusiveness of the Group.

Bernard Arnault is now known as the ‘wolf in cashmere.’ Such is his business acumen and skillful financial execution of the many 'fashion house' acquisitions over the years. He has accumulated a fortune well over $250 billion with his 47.5% controlling shareholding.

At a current price nudging its all-time of 729 euros, Arnault's wealth places him in the top 5 of the World's wealthiest Indvidual's – from well-to-do beginnings, he has revolutionized the luxury market into a multinational enterprise almost without compare.

His relatively lesser-known competitor, French counterpart Francois Pinault of fashion brands Gucci and YSL fame, includes ownership of several world-renowned French Vineyards, including Chateaux Latour. Also, the premier global art auctioneers Christie's, where the Pinault family aggressively pursues its interest with a collection comprising works by Mondrian and Picasso, are all grouped under Kering/Artemis

What is the secret of Bernard Arnault's success as the controlling shareholder of this diversified group of super-luxe brands?

LVMH has from the start pursued aggressive international expansion but allows each of its brands to retain their own creative autonomy and heritage while most importantly leaning on LVMH’s expert centralized support functions at a corporate and financial level, as the Group's mission statement reads below.

Our structure and operating principles ensure that our Houses [Brands] are both autonomous and responsive. This allows us to be extremely close to our customers and ensure that rapid, effective and appropriate decisions can be made. This approach also sustains the motivation of our employees, encouraging them to show true entrepreneurial spirit.

Currently employing over 150,000 people around the world, it reported sales of 44.7 billion euros last year, and the conglomerate is only continuing to grow despite the travails of Covid. It seems consumers from Asia and the USA are more inclined to forego any thoughts of travel but rather buy status luxury goods

The share price performance below reflects the extraordinary underlying strength of the business model over the past five years, with highs and lows in Euros for each of the past years:

2021 731,70 489,05
2020 517,20 278,70
2019 419,50 243,65
2018 313,70 232,50
2017 260,55 175,80
2016 181,40 130,55

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