▶ In our fort­nightly round-up, the com­pany owner’s for­tune has risen by al­most $3bn af­ter the pur­chase of Tif­fany

The National - News - - BUSINESS MONEY -

Bernard Ar­nault

Since Bernard Ar­nault, the chair­man of French lux­ury group LVMH, struck a deal to buy Amer­i­can jew­eller Tif­fany & Co for more than $16.2 bil­lion (Dh59.5bn) last week, his for­tune has surged by nearly $3bn.

A day af­ter the Tif­fany ac­qui­si­tion was an­nounced, Mr Ar­nault’s net worth jumped 2.8 per cent, or $2.85bn, to $107.8bn, ac­cord­ing to Forbes.

He was pre­vi­ously in third place among the world’s rich­est, fol­low­ing Ama­zon founder Jeff Be­zos and Mi­crosoft co-founder Bill Gates.

The Tif­fany deal boosted LVMH shares and led him to over­take Mr Gates, whose net worth is around $107.5bn, tracked in real time by Forbes.

Mr Be­zos still holds the crown with $111.7bn. Once Mr Ar­nault ac­quires Tif­fany in 2020, his net worth is ex­pected to pass Mr Be­zos, the Daily Mail re­ported.

Other no­table bil­lion­aires near the top of the list are Berk­shire Hath­away chief ex­ec­u­tive War­ren Buf­fett, Face­book’s Mark Zucker­berg and Or­a­cle founder Larry El­li­son, but none are even close to the $100bn mark.

Michael Bloomberg

For­mer New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg threw his hat into the US 2020 pres­i­den­tial race last week and started his cam­paign by blast­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s poli­cies.

The bil­lion­aire, who is the founder and ma­jor­ity owner of Bloomberg, said the US needs “an aw­ful lot more im­mi­grants rather than less”. He con­trasted his views on im­mi­gra­tion with Mr Trump’s re­stric­tive poli­cies and laid out a vi­sion of a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety en­riched by im­mi­grants.

“We need im­mi­grants to take all the dif­fer­ent kinds of jobs that the coun­try needs — im­prove our cul­ture, our cui­sine, our re­li­gion, our di­a­logue and cer­tainly im­prove our econ­omy,” he said at a Mex­i­can restau­rant in Phoenix, Ari­zona.

He crit­i­cised Mr Trump’s poli­cies that re­sulted in the sep­a­ra­tion of fam­i­lies ar­riv­ing on the US-Mex­ico bor­der, say­ing “rip­ping kids away from their par­ents is a dis­grace”.

Al­though Mr Bloomberg, 77, pre­vi­ously said in March he would not run for the pres­i­dency, he said he de­cided to make a late en­try out of fears that the current field of can­di­dates would lose to Mr Trump.

“I think that there is a greater risk of having Don­ald Trump re-elected than there was be­fore, and in the end, I looked in the mir­ror and said: ‘We just can­not let this hap­pen,’” Mr Bloomberg said af­ter an­nounc­ing his bid.

Mr Bloomberg also de­fended his de­ci­sion to fund his cam­paign with­out seek­ing out­side donors, de­spite crit­i­cism from other Democrats that the busi­ness­man is try­ing to “buy” the pres­i­dency. He launched his White House bid with a record $37 mil­lion TV ad­ver­tis­ing blitz across the US last week.

Mr Bloomberg has a net worth of about $54bn, ac­cord­ing to Forbes.

Elon Musk

An at­tor­ney for Elon Musk, the bil­lion­aire chief ex­ec­u­tive of elec­tric car maker Tesla, said his client had no in­ten­tion of set­tling a defama­tion suit brought by a Bri­tish cave ex­plorer be­fore the case goes to trial on Tues­day.

Ver­non Unsworth is su­ing Mr Musk for calling him a “pedo guy” in one of a se­ries of tweets. Mr Musk posted the tweets af­ter Mr Unsworth ac­cused Mr Musk in a CNN in­ter­view of grand­stand­ing by of­fer­ing to help Mr Unsworth’s div­ing team res­cue 12 boys and their foot­ball coach from a cave in Thai­land in July 2018.

Asked af­ter last week’s ses­sion in US District Court in Los Angeles if there was any chance Mr Musk would set­tle be­fore the civil trial, his at­tor­ney Alex Spiro told Reuters: “No”.

The defama­tion suit is one of the last re­main­ing is­sues hang­ing over Mr Musk from a tur­bu­lent pe­riod in 2018 and early 2019, dur­ing which the tech en­trepreneur’s use of Twit­ter and his per­sonal be­hav­iour rat­tled Tesla share­hold­ers and drew pressure from reg­u­la­tors.

Mr Musk has apol­o­gised for the “pedo guy” com­ment, say­ing it was a com­mon in­sult in his na­tive coun­try of South Africa, and that he did not in­tend to ac­cuse Mr Unsworth of pae­dophilia.

Mean­while, Mr Musk has been tweet­ing about or­ders for Tesla’s fu­tur­is­tic Cy­bertruck pickup, claim­ing first the com­pany had al­ready re­ceived 200,000 or­ders and a few days later up­dated that to 250,000.

The new truck, made of stain­less steel used in rock­ets and priced at $39,900 and above, failed to im­press Wall Street af­ter its “ar­moured glass” win­dows shat­tered in a launch demon­stra­tion and an­a­lysts ar­gued the de­sign would not have mass appeal.

Mark Cuban

Amer­i­can busi­ness­man Mark Cuban, who is known for his role as an investor on the TV show Shark Tank, is the new owner of Democ­

He bought the do­main in an auc­tion for an undis­closed price, higher than the min­i­mum bid set at $300,000, The

New York Times re­ported. He told the pa­per he bought it “to make sure some­one didn’t do some­thing crazy with it”. Tal­mage Coo­ley, the site’s pre­vi­ous owner, used it as a start-up so­cial plat­form where politi­cians and civic groups could con­nect with sup­port­ers. When the plat­form ran out of money, Mr Coo­ley de­cided to auc­tion it off. He emailed Mr Cuban invit­ing him to make a bid, just a few days be­fore it was set to close.

“I’m glad that some­body in the US bought it, as op­posed to a Rus­sian counter-democ­racy or­gan­i­sa­tion,” Mr Coo­ley said.

Mr Cuban en­dorsed Democratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton in 2016. Ear­lier this year he hinted at the pos­si­bil­ity of run­ning for the pres­i­dency in 2020 as an in­de­pen­dent, but in a Septem­ber in­ter­view on Fox Busi­ness Net­work, he said: “My fam­ily voted it down ... If you can change their mind, I’m all in.”

Mr Cuban has a net worth of ap­prox­i­mately $4.1bn, ac­cord­ing to Forbes.

Pa­trice Mot­sepe

South Africa’s only black bil­lion­aire, Pa­trice Mot­sepe, has taken a key stake in the coun­try’s best-per­form­ing rugby team, adding to his sport­ing in­ter­ests as he al­ready owns the na­tional foot­ball cham­pi­ons. Mr Mot­sepe bought a 37 per cent stake in the Blue Bulls Com­pany for an undis­closed amount.

The equal co-own­ers of the club, in­vest­ment hold­ing com­pany Rem­gro and the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, cut their in­ter­est to 37 per cent and 26 per cent re­spec­tively, to pave way for Mr Mot­sepe’s buy-in, Blue Bulls said.

The Blue Bulls are South Africa’s only mul­ti­ple win­ner of the pres­ti­gious Su­per Rugby com­pe­ti­tion, which in­cludes teams from New Zealand, Aus­tralia, Ja­pan and Ar­gentina. The team shares a sta­dium in Pre­to­ria with Mr Mot­sepe’s foot­ball club, Mamelodi Sun­downs.

Mr Mot­sepe, who is broth­erin-law to Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, made his for­tune in the gold min­ing in­dus­try but his in­ter­ests now span a range of met­als as well as in­vest­ments in fi­nan­cial services.

Forbes es­ti­mates his net worth at $2.2bn.

Getty; Reuters; Pawan Singh / The Na­tional

Clock­wise from above: Bernard Ar­nault, Michael Bloomberg and Pa­trice Mot­sepe

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