Bernard Arnault Acquires Stake in Richemont, Owner of Cartier

3 mins read

Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, has reportedly taken a personal equity stake in Cie Financiere Richemont SA, the parent company of Cartier. According to sources familiar with the French billionaire’s investments, the stake is described as “small” and part of a broader Arnault family-owned portfolio of investments in publicly listed companies.

While the exact size of Arnault’s shareholding in Richemont remains unclear, the investment is said to be held purely for financial purposes. A representative for Arnault and LVMH declined to comment on the matter.

The news of Arnault’s investment was disclosed in a wider profile of the businessman published in Bloomberg Businessweek. Following the revelation, Richemont shares saw an increase of up to 3.1% in Zurich, despite having slipped 2.4% over the past year. LVMH shares also traded 0.7% higher in Paris.

Richemont, controlled by South African billionaire Johann Rupert, has a market value of 84.7 billion Swiss francs ($91.3 billion), while LVMH stands as Europe’s third-most-valuable company with a market capitalization of approximately €366 billion ($391 billion).

Arnault’s investment may prompt speculation about his intentions, though Richemont’s chairman, Rupert, retains a strong defence against potential takeovers, controlling 51% of the voting rights with only 10.2% of the capital. Rupert, 74, has expressed a desire to keep Richemont independent.

Arnault, 75, has praised Richemont’s brands Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, and acknowledged Rupert’s leadership during LVMH’s annual results presentation in January. “I have no desire to disturb his strategy, I understand he wishes to remain independent and I think that’s very good,” Arnault said, adding, “if he needs support to maintain his independence, I will be there.”

Arnault’s history includes a notable investment in French luxury house Hermes International SCA, where LVMH used equity derivatives to accumulate a significant stake, ultimately reaching 23%. This move was resisted by Hermes, leading to LVMH relinquishing its holding.

LVMH, the leading global purveyor of high-end goods, owns various luxury brands, including Loewe, Celine, Fendi, Sephora, Dom Perignon, and Moët & Chandon. Its last major acquisition was the $16 billion purchase of Tiffany & Co. more than three years ago, marking the largest deal in the luxury industry to date.

Given LVMH’s extensive portfolio in fashion and jewelry, including Bulgari, Fred, Chaumet, and Repossi, any potential takeover attempt of Richemont could attract antitrust scrutiny. LVMH’s fashion brands Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Couture also have jewelry lines, adding to the competitive landscape.

As of June 24, Arnault’s wealth was estimated at about $203 billion, placing him third on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, behind Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.