Diamonds are Bernard Arnault’s best friend.

With Tiffany in the backpocket of Europe’s richest man, Bernard Arnault is now in position to edge into first place as the richest person on Earth.

Arnault’s LVMH, the umbrella corporation for 75 luxury brands that include Christian Dior, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Fendi, put a ring on it Monday with the $16 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co., famous for its diamond jewelry.

A gift box from Tiffany & Co.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)


The two companies had announced last month that they were studying the issue after LVMH made a cash bid.

Arnault is now worth more than $106.8 billion, a hair behind Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is worth $107 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time rankings. Arnault’s wealth leaped 1% higher, as did his stock, on news that LVMH, which he and his family own 47% of, was buying the iconic jeweler, according to CNN.

Amazon CEO Bezos, at $110.5 billion, holds the number one spot. Bloomberg puts Arnault at $100 billion, with totals to be updated at the close of each trading day in New York City, but leaving him in solid third place, for now.

Arnault, 70, has already flirted with second place, as earlier this month he snuck into the number two position, with a $107 billion fortune to Gates’ $106.9 billion at the time, reported Forbes. At the time Arnault was only $5.2 billion behind Bezos, who back then was worth $112.3 billion, according to Forbes.