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Billionaire Watch

How Kanye West became the richest black American with $6.6 billion net worth

Kanye West officially became a billionaire six times over following remarkable deals with Adidas and Gap.



Kanye West

Kanye West’s decision to go into the apparel business in 2009 has etched his name on the sands of time. The Chicago-born rapper and businessman is now worth 6.6 billion making him the richest black American on earth according to Bloomberg.

This new information was revealed when a reputable Swiss investment bank UBS Group AG released an official document on the new Kanye West deal.

The document was obtained and reviewed by Bloomberg before it was made public. The latest Kanye West Yeezy deal involves two of the world’s biggest names in the apparel business – Adidas AG and Gap Inc.

History-making Deals with Adidas and Gap

According to Bloomberg, West latest deal with Adidas AG and Gap is valued at $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion by UBS Group AG.

West’s new clothing line for GAP is expected to cost $970m from the total of the deal.

According to Bloomberg the deal was signed last year and is expected to last for 10 years. West is expected to make clothes for men, women, and kids under the Yeezy Gap Label.

The Gap management is expecting to hit $150m in sales at the ending of 2022 and over a billion dollars in 8 years.

The apparel brand hopes to appeal to the younger demographic by bringing West on board.


When Kanye West struggled with debts

The financial journey of Kanye West over the last decade is marked with up and downs. He has gone from numbing lows to astronomical heights in one of the most unstable financial paths ever seen.

According to Fox News, West made $115m in 2018 but still ended the year in a $35m debt. He was saved by a $68m Tax refund.

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Earlier on in 2016, Kanye West spoke to BET on his debt status and his current struggles in the apparel industry. He racked up a $16m debt trying to float his apparel brand.

“I was trying to play a sport that’s a billionaire sport. It’s not a millionaire sport and I’m proud of the debt,”

“I don’t care about somebody’s Ghost (Phantom) or somebody’s house. I care about my vision,” he said.

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In 2015, West announced via his Twitter page that he was in a $53m debt. This was confirmed by Vanity Fair which alleged that he racked up the debts pursuing his fashion Industry goals.

He once asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1bn in his fashion apparel.

West wins…

  • According to Bloomberg, an unedited balance sheet of Kanye West’s finances revealed that the rapper was earning $100m in royalties from his Adidas business venture.
  • In addition to that, he earned over $122 million in cash and stock and more than $1.7 billion in other assets.
  • A 2020 valuation by a US-based valuation company placed his entire music catalog at $110.5 million.
  • His latest deal with Adidas is worth between $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion. His second deal with Gap is valued at $1billion.
  • Forbes officially named Kanye West a billionaire mid-last year and attributed this status to his 100% ownership of the Yeezy brand.
  • According to Celebrity Net worth, West is now officially the richest black American at the moment. At 6.6bn he has successfully displaced Robert F. Smith’s, David Steward’s, and Oprah Winfrey to clinch the top position.

What you should know

  • Kanye West owns 100% of the Yeezy Brand. A smart move that has been hailed by most business analysts. West did not sell the brand to any of the major shoe brands in the industry. He solely owns the brand, while Adidas just makes the shoes and distribute them.
  • According to Bloomberg, the Yeezy Sneakers are Kanye West’s most successful apparel business brand. The Swiss investment bank UBS attributed to this in their official statement where it confirmed that the sneaker business is growing at an alarming rate.
  • According to the UBS, Kanye netted $191 million in royalties from his 2020 operations.

I Am A Business Analyst And Digital Media Enthusiast Covering Wealth And Business Leaders. Follow Me On Twitter

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Billionaire Watch

Meet the only man on top 5 billionaire list who is not in tech

Bernard Arnault, today owns and has huge stakes in over 70 different luxury brands in the market. 



How Bernard Arnault Became The 4th Richest Man In The World Selling Luxury Brands

The internet has made many people multibillionaires. The first five richest people in the world are all tech gurus who made their money from the technology sector, except one.

The fourth richest man in the world has no known successful investment in technology but somehow maintains a staggering net worth of $177.8bn. He started this week as the third richest person but a surge in Microsoft stocks saw Bill Gates displace him to the 4th position at the time of writing this report.

Our person of interest sits atop a 70 luxury brands empire which includes big names like LVMH, Sephora, and Hermes. He has stakes in virtually all the big luxury brands that have become household names.

Meet Bernard Arnault, the luxury brand king 

Bernard Arnault started his adult life as an engineer but somewhere along the line, decided to delve into the world of luxury brands. At 22 he took over his father’s construction company where he rose to become president, succeeding his father.

His adventure into the world of luxury brands officially kicked off in the year 1984, with the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of financier Lazard Frères et Cie. Bernard acquired a dying textile company that owned a host of brand labels including the now-famous Christian Dior.

He surged on from there to buy and invest in virtually all the top luxury brands in the market.

According to Forbes Bernard Arnault, today owns and has huge stakes in over 70 different luxury brands in the market.

Key Strategy: Decentralization

Bernard Arnault while speaking to Harvard Business Magazine revealed what he believes is the key to his successful luxury brand empire – decentralization. 


Bernard Arnault revealed to the Harvard Business Magazine that despite his company LVMH owning over 70 global brands and employing over 54,000 employees. The headquarters of the global company in Paris is made up of just 250 people.

A key secret of LVMH’s success is the decision to let each of its various brands run as a company of its own without much interference. Every brand runs like a different company and is headed by its own different creative director.

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He strongly believes in the notion of creativity thriving in space and he explained to HBR that acting like a typical boss around creative people stifles their creativity.

In his words, “ I don’t have alarm bells when it comes to creativity. If you think and act like a typical manager around creative people — with rules, policies, data on customer preferences, and so forth — you will quickly kill their talent. Our whole business is based on giving our artists and designers complete freedom to invent without limits.

Our philosophy is quite simple, really. If you look over a creative person’s shoulder, he will stop doing great work. Wouldn’t you, if some manager were watching your every move, clutching a calculator in his hand? So that is why LVMH is, as a company, so decentralized. Each brand very much runs itself, headed by its own artistic director. Central headquarters in Paris is very small, especially for a company with 54,000 employees and 1,300 stores around the world. There are only 250 of us, and I assure you, we do not lurk around every corner, questioning every creative decision.”  

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Brands and numbers 

The LVMH empire owns and has stakes in the following big-name brands: Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Guerlain, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Sephora, Berluti, Chaumet, Krug, Bulgari, Fendi, Céline, Emilio Pucci, Kenzo, Loewe, Loro Piana, Rimowa, Fred, Hublot, Zenith, TAG Heuer, etc.

According to Forbes, Bernard Arnault’s net worth is valued at $178.7b. He added a whopping $95bn to his net worth over the course of last year.

This massive surge was spearheaded by a 107% increase in LVMH share prices since March 18 last year.

According to Forbes, in the first quarter of 2021, LVMH recorded $16.7bn in sales revenue with analysts expecting the number to go up.

Bernard Arnault owns a 47% stake in LVMH the parent company which owns in whole and parts over 70 global luxury brands. This is his primary source of income and net worth.

What to know 

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  • The luxury industry is divided into 5 major sectors: Fashion and Leather Goods, Perfumes and Cosmetics, Wines and Spirits, Watches and Jewellery and Selective Retailing.
  • The LVMH house owns stakes in the biggest brands in the world across all 5 sectors.
  • Bernard Arnault has successfully integrated his children into the family empire with each manning a select niche in the LVMH house.
  • Bernard Arnault, speaking to Forbes, revealed that he sees himself as a custodian of the French heritage and culture.

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Billionaire Watch

Bernie Madoff, mastermind of the historic $65bn investment fraud dies at 82

Bernie Madoff passed away today at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.



The man behind what has been described by many as the biggest fraud attempt in US history has passed away in government custody.

Bernie Madoff was the architect of the biggest Ponzi scheme attempt in the United States. He was a famous Wall Street fellow who at a certain time was the Chairman of Nasdaq and CEO/Founder of the Wall Street firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

Bernie Madoff defrauded about 37,000 people in 136 countries over 4 decades according to US investigators. Included in his victim list are prominent Americans like movie director Stephen Spielberg and former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

READ: Anti-virus creator, John David McAfee charged for U.S tax evasion

Bernie Madoff and the US Govt

Bernie Madoff was arrested on December 11, 2008, following tip-offs. He pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted to operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison with restitution of $170bn.


Bernie Madoff passed away today at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. His death was confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Madoff died apparently from natural causes, the AP reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter. He would have turned 83 on April 29.

What you should know 

  • Restitution is a payment made to compensate a victim for financial losses related to a crime.
  • Bernie Madoff’s family was badly affected by his fraud case. His older son Mark committed suicide according to CNBC.
  • JP Morgan Chase, the primary bank of Bernie Madoff was forced to pay $2.6bn to the US government in settlements.

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