Bernard Arnault, billionaire and chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, during an earnings news conference at the company's headquarters in Paris, France on Jan. 25, 2024. LVMH sales rose at the end of last year as wealthy shoppers treated themselves to the group's pricey handbags and Champagne, a sign of resilience at the world's largest luxury conglomerate. Image Credit: Bloomberg

San Francisco: Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of global luxury goods company LVMH, has returned as world’s richest man as Elon Musk lost more than $18 billion in his net worth after Tesla stock nosedived last week, wiping over $73 billion off the company's market value.

According to Forbes' real-time billionaire list, Arnault and his family’s net worth grew to $207.8 billion after a $23.6 billion increase, passing Musk’s $204.5 billion.

LVMH shares were up over 13 per cent on their last close on Friday. The market cap of LVMH reached $388.8 billion, compared to Tesla’s $586.14 billion market cap.

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The 74-year-old Bernard Arnault first surpassed Musk in December 2022.

In December last year, Tesla and SpaceX CEO returned as the world's richest man, recapturing the title from French luxury tycoon Arnault.

With a combined net worth of about $426 billion at the time, Musk and Arnault had lunch in Paris in June last year. They met at Cheval Blanc, a luxury hotel chain owned by Arnault’s LVMH.

Meanwhile, Tesla shares plunged more than 11 per cent last Friday, wiping $73 billion off the company’s market value hours after it warned of slowing growth in electric car sales and an existential threat from Chinese rivals.

In an earnings presentation, the world’s most valuable automaker said its sales growth this year “may be notably lower” than last as it continued developing the “next-generation” vehicle, likely a lower-priced model.

While it reported a sizable 38 per cent increase in deliveries last year compared with 2022, Tesla had previously targeted a 50 per cent annual growth rate averaged over several years, CNN reported.