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Tiffany’s new owner, Bernard Arnault, is on track to become the world’s richest man

Tiffany & Co’s new owner, Bernard Arnault, who is currently the third richest man on earth, is on track to become the wealthiest man in the world, passing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. 

On Sunday, it was revealed that French luxury firm, LVMH, which is owned by Arnault, agreed to purchase the iconic New York jeweler Tiffany & Co for $16.2billion. 

LMVH announced the deal that will give the company expanded access to US consumers as it aims to restore Tiffany’s luster amid declining sales in recent years. 

Arnault, 70, is now worth more than $106.8billion just behind Bill Gates, who has a net worth of $107billion. Bezos still sits at the top spot with $110.5billion. 

Tiffany & Co’s new owner, Bernard Arnault (pictured), who is currently the third richest man on earth, is on track to become the wealthiest man in the world, passing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates

Arnault's net worth rose to $106.8bn just behind Bill Gates (pictured), who has a net worth of $107bn

Bezos (pictured) sits in the top spot with $110.5bn

Following the announcement that French luxury firm, LVMH, which is owned by Arnault, agreed to purchase Tiffany & Co for $16.2bn, Arnault’s net worth rose to $106.8bn just behind Bill Gates (left), who has a net worth of $107bn. Bezos (right) sits in the top spot with $110.5bn

LMVH and Tiffany and Co (Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan pictured) confirmed last month that they were in talks to join forces after LMVH presented the 180-year-old jeweler with an unsolicited offer of $14.5billion, or $120 per share

LMVH and Tiffany and Co (Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan pictured) confirmed last month that they were in talks to join forces after LMVH presented the 180-year-old jeweler with an unsolicited offer of $14.5billion, or $120 per share

LMVH and Tiffany and Co confirmed last month that they were in talks to join forces after LMVH presented the 180-year-old jeweler with an unsolicited offer of $14.5billion, or $120 per share. 

Tiffany managed to squeeze even more money out of LMVH as the companies settled on price of $135 per share – $16.2billion total. LMVH has said it intends to finalize the deal by 2020.  

Tiffany, known for its delicate jewelry, distinctive blue boxes and a 1961 Audrey Hepburn movie, says the deal will ensure its long-term sustainability. 

The company has been trying in recent years to transform its brand to appeal to younger and more digital shoppers, and could use an owner with deep pockets to help expand its business.

LVMH, led by Arnault, Europe’s richest man, says the deal will strengthen its position in high-end jewelry and in the US market. 

The purchase gives the French conglomerate a new star in its already distinctive portfolio – one that will help it compete with Gucci-owner Kering Group and Cartier-owner Richemont SA.

LVMH already owns 75 brands including Christian Dior, Fendi, and Givenchy as well as watchmaker Tag Heuer. 

Its flagship brand Louis Vuitton recently opened a handbag workshop in Texas, with President Donald Trump in attendance.

The offer comes as luxury goods companies have been wrestling with changing habits of shoppers who are increasingly buying online. 

They’re also purchasing second-hand luxury items from places like The RealReal.com.

In addition, luxury companies are facing fears of an economic slowdown in China, a key area of business, while they’re already dealing with a slowdown in international tourism in the US.

Under its CEO, Alessandro Bogliolo, Tiffany is trying to appeal to younger shoppers with more modern takes on jewelry. 

Kate Winslet is seen wearing Tiffany jewelry at the Oscars in 2010

Lady Gaga is seen wearing a Tiffany earring and necklace set at the 91st Annual Academy Awards in February

Tiffany jewelry has been beloved by celebrities for decades. Kate Winslet and Lady Gaga are seen wearing Tiffany necklace and earring sets at the Oscars in 2010 and 2019, respectively

LVMH already owns 75 brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, and Givenchy as well as watchmaker Tag Heuer. A Louis Vuitton store in Japan is pictured

LVMH already owns 75 brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, and Givenchy as well as watchmaker Tag Heuer. A Louis Vuitton store in Japan is pictured

Earlier this year, it launched a men’s jewelry collection, and it’s increasing its marketing to a more diverse customer base like same-sex couples. 

It’s also been renovating its flagship store in Manhattan.

Still, Tiffany’s US sales have been stagnating as China’s slowing economy has weighed on spending by Chinese tourists, who make up a substantial portion of luxury spending. 

The strong dollar has also made Tiffany products more expensive for consumers outside the US.

Tiffany has notably highlighted ways customers can personalize jewelry and started letting people trace the origin of their diamonds.

The company had sales of $4.4billion in 2018, an increase of nearly seven per cent over 2017. LVMH reported $6.9billion in profits in 2018 on $51.5billion in sales. 

After the deal was announced, shares in Tiffany rose almost six per cent in pre-market trading in New York, while LVMH was up two per cent in Paris. 

Tiffany was founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany. The jeweler became known for its delicate pieces designed in a new ‘American style’ that deviated from the European aesthetic, which was heavily influenced by the Victorian era.   

In the early years, Tiffany was known for its silver work, thanks to the influence of renowned silversmith and lead designer Edward C Moore. 

Tiffany, known for its bright blue boxes and expensive wares, was founded in 1837

Tiffany, known for its bright blue boxes and expensive wares, was founded in 1837

Tiffany's oldest store in Lower Manhattan is seen circa 1899

Tiffany’s oldest store in Lower Manhattan is seen circa 1899

The company began molding its reputation for diamonds in the 1870s, following the opening of a $500,000 store at Union Square described by the New York Times as a ‘Palace of Jewels’.

In 1878, the jeweler purchased one of the world’s largest diamonds, a 287.42ct rough Fancy canary gem, from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.

The diamond was cut into an impressive 128.54ct sparkler with 82 facets and fitted into a necklace later worn by actress Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. 

Dubbed the Tiffany Diamond, the gem became the cornerstone of the jeweler’s collection and cemented its place in the global industry. Today, that diamond is housed at Tiffany’s flagship store in Manhattan.    

Tiffany adopted the iconic robin’s egg blue as its central color in 1878, and the hue has been synonymous with the brand ever since. 

Tiffany revolutionized engagement rings when it introduced the ‘Tiffany Setting’ in 1886. Previously, engagement rings were bezel-set, with only the top of the diamond visible. 

Charles Tiffany fashioned a new setting that held the diamond on six prongs, elevating it into the light.    

After the founder’s death in 1902, his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany, took over the company and became its first artistic director.  

TIFFANY & CO: HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Tiffany was founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B Young in Brooklyn, Connecticut as a ‘stationery and fancy goods emporium’. 

The firm operated under the name ‘Tiffany, Young and Ellis’ out of New York City until 1853, when Charles Tiffany took control and established an emphasis on jewelry, changing the name to Tiffany & Co. 

Over the next few decades the jeweler became known for its delicate pieces designed in a new ‘American style’ that deviated from the European aesthetic, which was heavily influenced by the Victorian era.  

Tiffany first achieved international recognition at the 1867 Paris World’s fair, where the company was awarded the grand prize for silver craftsmanship. It marked the first time an American designer had been honored by a foreign jury. 

In 1878, the jeweler purchased one of the world's largest diamonds, a 287.42ct Fancy canary gem, from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa. The diamond fitted into a necklace later worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's

In 1878, the jeweler purchased one of the world’s largest diamonds, a 287.42ct Fancy canary gem, from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa. The diamond fitted into a necklace later worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The jeweler was the first American firm to adopt British silver standards (92 percent purity). Tiffany is widely credited for the US Government’s adoption of the same standard.  

Tiffany bills its silver studio as America’s first school of design, under the direction of renowned silversmith Edward C Moore. 

The jeweler began molding its reputation for diamonds in the 1870s, following the opening of a $500,000 store at Union Square described by the New York Times as a ‘Palace of Jewels’.

In 1878, the jeweler purchased one of the world’s largest diamonds, a 287.42ct rough Fancy canary gem, from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.

The diamond was cut into an impressive 128.54ct sparkler with 82 facets and fitted into a necklace later worn by actress Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. 

Dubbed the Tiffany Diamond, the gem became the cornerstone of the jeweler’s collection and cemented its place in the global industry. Today, that diamond is housed at Tiffany’s flagship story in Manhattan.    

Tiffany adopted the iconic robin’s egg blue as its central color in 1878, and the hue has been synonymous with the brand ever since. 

Tiffany revolutionized engagement rings when it introduced the ‘Tiffany Setting’ in 1886. Previously, engagement rings were bezel-set, with only the top of the diamond visible. 

Charles Tiffany fashioned a new setting that held the diamond on six prongs, elevating it into the light.    

The company entered a new phase following Charles Tiffany’s death in 1902. His son,  Louis Comfort Tiffany, took over the company and became its first artistic director. 

Four years later the company moved to the Tiffany and Company Building on Fifth Avenue, which served as its headquarters until 1950. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978. 

Under Louis Tiffany’s leadership, the brand increased its international recognition and became a household name across America through customers such as Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. 

Tiffany’s flagship store at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Midtown has been running since 1940 and was featured in a number of iconic films, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sweet Home Alabama. 

Today, Tiffany operates 321 retail stores on five continents and remains one of the most legendary and coveted jewelry brands in the world. 

Under Louis Tiffany’s leadership, the brand increased its international recognition and became a household name across America through customers such as Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. 

Tiffany’s flagship store at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Midtown has been running since 1940 and was featured in a number of iconic films, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sweet Home Alabama. 

Today, Tiffany operates 321 retail stores on five continents and remains one of the most legendary and coveted jewelry brands in the world. 

Arnault began cultivating his luxury brand empire in 1984, when he purchased Paris-based fashion house Christian Dior for $60million. 

The company earned its name in 1987, when Arnault partnered with Alain Chevalier to purchase Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey after the fashion firm and spirits purveyor merged. 

Over the next decade, Arnault worked to expand and diversify LMVH, spending millions to bring on new brands such as Givenchy, Guerlain, Marc Jacobs and Sephora. 

The company’s busiest year for acquisitions was 1999 – when it invested in four beauty lines – Hard Candy, BeneFit Cosmetics, Bliss Spa, and Make Up For Ever – and formed a watch and jewelry division, which included Tag Heuer, Zenith, Ebel and Chaumet. It also acquired fashion firms Thomas Pink and Gucci that year.

LMVH continued its growth into the 21st century by forming partnerships with companies previously viewed as competitors, such as Prada and Hermes. 

Today LMVH consists of 75 brands, the oldest being wine producer Château d’Yquem, which dates its origins back to 1593.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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