How did he make his millions? He started at his family's construction firm, went to the US and came back with a plan: building a luxury conglomerate by acquiring troubled family-owned brands - first Christian Dior then LVMH. He took advantage of the 1987 stock market crash to become LVMH's largest shareholder, with a 43% stake, seizing control later. The LVMH stable now includes Dom Perignon, Krug and Givenchy, and employs 70,000-plus. Arnault also sits on the board at Carrefour, and his Blue Capital investment vehicle is its largest shareholder. Watch this space.
The secret of his success? 'Be in the right place at the right time' is Arnault's advice. But he's also a ruthless trophy-hunter, considered one of the world's most competitive tycoons. eBay found out the hard way: Arnault took it to task last year over counterfeit goods. He won £30m.