Francoise Bettencourt Meyers Becomes 1st Women to Reach $100 Billion fortune

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the heiress of the L’Oréal empire, has become the first woman to amass a fortune exceeding $100 billion. The success of L’Oreal SA, the beauty products empire founded by her grandfather, Eugene Schueller, in 1901.

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers Becomes 1st Women to Reach $100 Billion fortune

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As her wealth surged to $100.1 billion on December 28, 2023, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bettencourt Meyers position as the 12th-richest individual globally, surpassing figures like Mukesh Ambani and Carlos Slim.

L’Oreal’s stock, based in Paris, has experienced a rise of 35% in the current year, reaching record highs. The surge is attributed to consumers’ continued penchant for luxury products, even in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The company, recognized as the world’s largest cosmetics company, has a diverse portfolio that includes renowned brands such as Lancome, Maybelline, Prada, and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2022, L’Oreal reported revenues of almost $42 billion.

At 70 years old, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers serves as the vice-chair of L’Oreal’s board, carrying forward the family legacy initiated by her grandfather.

Her family, holding nearly 35% of the company’s shares, stands as the single largest shareholder in the $268 billion global giant. As the only child of Liliane Bettencourt, she inherited her wealth following her mother’s demise in 2017.

Bettencourt Meyers’ sons, Jean-Victor Meyers and Nicolas Meyers, also contribute to the family’s legacy as directors in the company. Despite her immense wealth, Bettencourt Meyers maintains a private lifestyle.

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L’Oreal made headlines by acquiring the Australian brand Aesop in a $2.5 billion deal, making the largest brand acquisition ever made by the French beauty giant. This surpassed its previous record of a $1.7 billion purchase of YSL Beauté in 2008.

Like many companies, L’Oreal faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a downturn in the makeup industry due to lockdowns.

However, the company exhibited resilience and witnessed rebound as consumers returned to luxury items, contributing to a 35% surge in the company’s shares in 2023.

Tethys, established in 2016 with her husband, Jean-Pierre Meyers, as the CEO, Tethys focuses on direct long-term investments in entrepreneurial projects that do not compete with L’Oreal.

Recent ventures include acquiring a stake in French insurance broker April Group and investments in fashion brand Sezane and private hospital operator Elsan. Tethys Invest SAS, a subsidiary set up by the couple, is partly funded by L’Oreal dividends.

The Bettencourt family’s legacy, chronicled in a recent Netflix documentary series, L’Affaire Bettencourt, goes into the family saga, including a political scandal and secret recordings made by a butler.

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers emerged as the sole heir, navigating her family’s wealth while holding positions in both Tethys and L’Oreal.

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Known for her dedication to playing the piano for hours daily, Bettencourt Meyers is a business magnate but also an accomplished author.

She has written a five volume study of the Bible and a genealogy of the Greek gods, showcasing her intellectual pursuits beyond the business.

While Francoise Bettencourt Meyers’ $100 billion fortune is an achievement, it is overshadowed by the wealth of Bernard Arnault, the founder of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE. Arnault, holding the second position globally with a net worth of $179 billion, exemplifies the continued dominance of France in the luxury retail sector.

The rise of ultra-rich families, including those behind Hermes International SCA and the Wertheimer brothers who own Chanel.

Bettencourt Meyer’s wealth is an inheritance from her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, who passed away in 2017.

The occasional relationship with her mother, Bettencourt Meyers emerged as the sole heir and has her family’s wealth with a firm hand.

The family’s history includes a legal battle turned political scandal, explored in the recent Netflix documentary series, L’Affaire Bettencourt.

The documentary goes into the family saga, including secret recordings made by a butler, providing insights into the challenges by one of the world’s wealthiest families.

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