Bernard Arnault on track to become world's richest man following Tiffany & Co. deal

Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault is reportedly on track to become the world's richest man after sealing the $16.2 billion (£12.5 billion) deal to purchase Tiffany & Co.

The 70-year-old Frenchman, who serves as chairman of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), is closing in on the title, editors at Forbes magazine have reported.

Arnault's net worth rose by one per cent after the takeover of the iconic American brand was announced on Monday and is now worth approximately $106.8 billion (£82.8 billion).

The business magnate is now only slightly behind Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos in the wealth stakes.

According to Forbes' Real-Time Billionaires List, which tracks the net worth of the richest people in the world, Gates is worth $107 billion (£83 billion) and Bezos is worth $110.2 billion (£85.5 billion).

American investor Warren Buffett, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and entrepreneur Larry Ellison round out the top six wealthiest people.

Arnault and his family own more than 47 per cent in the LVMH conglomerate, which oversees more than 70 luxury brands including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Celine, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, and Dom Perignon Champagne.

Back in October, LVMH executives announced they had approached bosses at Tiffany & Co. with a possible takeover bid. After a month of talks, it was confirmed that the companies had entered into an agreement where LVMH will acquire the jeweller for $135 (£104) per share in cash.

Tiffany & Co. became a household name thanks to the 1961 Audrey Hepburn film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, which was based on the novel of the same name by Truman Capote.

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