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Meet Bernard Arnault, the world’s richest man

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With an estimated net worth of $186.3 billion, French fashion tycoon Bernard Arnault ascended to the exalted position of the world’s richest person early Monday morning. That puts him ahead of Jeff Bezos ($186 billion) and Elon Musk ($179 billion). Arnault’s fortune has risen by more than $110 billion in 14 months from a relatively humble valuation of $76 billion in March 2020. 

On Monday, French billionaire Bernard Arnault’s stake in luxury goods conglomerate LVMH increased by more than $600 million, bringing the company’s market capitalization to $320 billion. His share in the company, which owns Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Dior Homme, is now valued at $186.3 billion. Burberry, Givenchy, and Marni are among the brands owned by the French fashion firm.

Europe’s Luxury Lockdown

During the government shutdown, LVMH and its CEO Bernard Arnault represented the incredible rise of Europe’s luxury and fashion houses. The “momentum” of Chinese buyers helped LVMH earn $17 billion in the first quarter of 2021, up 32% from the same period in 2020.

In a year, François Pinault’s net worth increased from $27 billion to $55.1 billion, thanks to his Kering Group, which owns Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, co-founders of Chanel, are now worth $35 billion, more than double their 2020 net worth. Even Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, L’Oréal’s founder’s granddaughter, saw her fortune increase by about $40 billion, to $87.8 billion Monday.

A European At No. 1

While Theo and Karl Albrecht, the founders of Aldi, made the top ten, they never claimed the top spot. Bernard Arnault has been in the top five since 2018, when he was ranked 11th. With a fortune of $76 billion, he became the third-richest person in the world in 2019. 

When Elon Musk’s net worth reached $189.7 billion in January 2021, he momentarily became the world’s richest individual. Since March 2020, when he was valued at $24.6 billion, he has increased his net worth several times over. The net worth of the world’s wealthiest persons have varied significantly since the outbreak, with several soaring by billions.

Arnault Ascendant

With an interest in fashion, wine and spirits, perfumes, watches, jewellery, and retail, it has been a heady rise to the top of the ranks for Arnault. 

The French media dubbed him “The wolf in cashmere” for his silk and steel approach when he put a billion dollars (plus some loose change) to buy a controlling stake in LVMH. 

He paid no heed to the media and instead went on a savvy shopping spree, acquiring companies aplenty and demonstrating a remarkable capacity to allocate capital. The brands brought into the LVMH fold, and then allowed to operate independently in their own spirit, include the likes of Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Fendi, and DKNY among many others. 

The turn of the decade didn’t slow him down either; he picked up Bvlgari in 2011 for a staggering $5 billion in 2011, and recently acquired the hallowed Tiffany’s brand in 2020 for an eye watering $16 billion. This represented his biggest deal ever, and reflects his ethos, which is to look for stars and then seize the opportunity. 

What makes Arnault appeal?

Luxury industry insiders say he combines Wall Street smarts with “generational thinking”. Some of the LVMH brands go back centuries, creating a cache that is deep and almost impossible to replicate with a new-age brand. He combines this old-world brand equity with new-age talent, marrying the best of both worlds. Virgin Abloh, Rihanna, and Stella McCartney are just some of the young stars in LVMH’s galaxy, and they won’t be the last. 

Louis Vuitton is of course the crown jewel, valued at $47 billion and the most revered luxury brand on the planet, with sales equivalent to its 3 biggest competitors: Estée Lauder, Richemont, and Kering. 

Style, savvy, and smarts. The wolf in cashmere has come a long way, and remains in the hunt for new opportunities always. Carpe diem. 

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Facebook to rebrand the company ‘Metaverse’

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Facebook is the world’s largest, and arguably most influential, social media platform, with more than 2.8 billion monthly active users and a net worth as of now of $1 trillion.

It’s safe to say that the majority of our lives rely on Facebook. Recently, Facebook, the parent company of Instagram and WhatsApp, hit the headlines when it went dark for six hours, causing havoc all over the world.

According to a report by The Verge, Facebook is planning to rebrand the company with a new name to focus on building the metaverse. Metaverse, as the term suggests, is a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.

According to the report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will reveal the company’s new name on October 28 at the annual Connect conference, but it could be announced sooner.

Facebook, which aspires to be renowned for more than just social networking, revealed on Sunday that it will hire 10,000 people in Europe over the next five years to help construct the metaverse, which the corporation regards as critical to its long-term success.

In July, Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s future lies in the virtual metaverse, in which users will live, work and play inside.

Facebook already has more than 10,000 employees who build consumer hardware like AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will be as ubiquitous as smartphones.

The company wants to be known as much more than a “social media” company, and is promising to change the way humanity interacts.

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One to lookout for: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala invests in a furniture startup!

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Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, often referred to as India’s own Warren Buffett, is an ace investor with a track record of successful investing. Many treat him as a bellwether, and look to him for guidance and inspiration when it comes to navigating the vagaries of the investing landscape. And so, it would be of interest to investors to know that India’s Big Bull has out his money where his mouth is and invested in a furniture-based startup, Arrivae.

What is Aarivae?

Founded in 2017, Arrivae is a customized full home interior solution provider that enables customers to get the house customers want. From designing the finest homes by some of the finest architects and interior designers to material supplied by some of the most credible vendors. It specializes in providing practical solutions for various situations. Arrivae works in four simple steps; meeting the designer, designs made for customers, intelligent manufacturing and lastly concierge services.

Arrivae raised Rs 50 crore in its first round of external funding, backed by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Enam family, Siddharth Yog (Founder, Xander Group), Anand Jain (Chairman, Jai Corp), Harsh Jain (Founder, Dream 11), and Ramesh S. Damani (Chairman, DMart) all participated in the fundraising round.

“At Arrivae, we’re still in the early phases of our plan to build India’s most comprehensive home renovation ecosystem. Partnerships are important to us at Arrivae because they help us build brand confidence in the ecosystem, especially among customers.” said founder Yash Kela.

Kela rounded things off by saying, “All the veterans who have participated in this round will enable more faith in the Arrivae brand.”

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The right pricing will be crucial for the launch of Zydus Cadila’s vaccine.

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The destiny of Zydus Cadila’s Covid vaccine is in doubt, as the vaccine’s price appears to be delaying its introduction into the vaccination program. The business has received emergency use authorization from the FDA to inject its Covid vaccine, ZyCoV-D, to children aged 12 to 18.

Zydus Cadila, located in Ahmedabad, has imported the pharmaJet, a needle-free applicator for painless intradermal vaccine delivery. 

Each jet is responsible for delivering a specific amount of vaccination. 

As a result, a single dose is split into two shots, one for each arm. “It’s an expensive device and hence jacks up the overall price,” a government official said.

Around 20,000 dosages can be administered with the jet injector.

The government has been purchasing Covaxin at 225 per dosage and Covishield, another Covid vaccine developed in India, at 215 per dose.

The price of the Zydus Cadila vaccine, according to Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, will be significantly more than that of existing vaccines.

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