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#120 Alain Wertheimer $11.5B

Random fact: Winner of three Breeders' Cups with thoroughbred Goldikova.

Overview

Wertheimer and his brother Gerard own Chanel, the Parisian fragrance and fashion house that makes Chanel No. 5 perfume. The closely held luxury goods company, which was founded by fashion designer Coco Chanel in 1910, had revenue of $6.2 billion in 2015. Other assets include three vineyards and racehorses in France.

As of July 21, 2017:
Last change -$86.9M (-0.8%)
YTD change +$1.21B (+11.8%)
Industry Consumer
Biggest asset Chanel
Citizenship France
Age 68
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Alain Wertheimer's net worth of $11.5B can buy ...

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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Wertheimer's fortune is derived from his 50 percent stake in Chanel. His brother, Gerard, owns the other half.

The company had net revenue of $6.2 billion in 2015, according to documents filed with the Netherlands company registry by Chanel International, a Zoetermeer, Netherlands-based holding company.

Chanel International is valued using the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiples of five publicly traded peer companies: L'Oreal, Estee Lauder, Prada, LVMH and Kering.

The brothers also own a French and U.S. racehorse business, whose valuation is based on a calculation by a thoroughbred horse consultant who asked not be identified because the company is closely held. They also own three vineyards in Bordeaux, France, that are valued using the average estimates of two local property consultants, who asked not to be identified because the vineyards are closely held.

Laurence Delamare, a spokesman for Chanel, declined to comment on the Wertheimer family's fortune.

Biography

Birthdate: 9/28/1948
Family: Married, 3 children

Alain Ernest Wertheimer was born to racehorse owner Jacques Wertheimer and Eliane Fischer in Paris on Sept. 28, 1948. His younger brother Gerard was born three years later. His grandfather was Pierre Wertheimer, a French industrialist, who, with his brother Paul, founded Les Parfums Chanel, which began making and distributing fashion designer Coco Chanel's No. 5 fragrance in 1924.

The Jewish family fled Paris in 1940 as German troops advanced on the city, returning after the war, according to “The Secret of Chanel No. 5,” a history of the fragrance by Tilar Mazzeo. In their absence Coco Chanel attempted to take control of the business from the Wertheimers in 1941. She wrote to the German occupiers, arguing that Les Parfums Chanel was Jewish property and so should be redistributed, namely to her. She was foiled by the Wertheimers, who before leaving Paris had passed their stake to industrialist Felix Amiot, who'd agreed to hold it for them during the occupation to prevent it being seized, according to Mazzeo.

The family took full control of Chanel's fragrance and fashion operations in 1954, in exchange for paying all of Coco Chanel's bills and taxes for the rest of her life, and funding the expansion of the haute couture division. When Pierre died nine years later, ownership passed to Alain's father Jacques.

Alain, took operational control of the label in 1974, three years after the death of Coco Chanel, and began to revive the brand and re-establish it at the top-end of the perfume and luxury market, according to Anastasia Kourovskaia, a vice president at consultancy Millward Brown Optimor EMEA. Ready-to-wear clothing was added in 1978 and, five years later, German designer Karl Lagerfeld was recruited as artistic director. Alain, based in New York, is chairman of Chanel and Geneva-based Gerard heads the company's watch division.

The brothers rarely appear publicly and never comment on Chanel. "We're a very discreet family, we never talk," the New York Times quoted Gerard as saying in 2002. Alain lives in a Fifth Avenue apartment in New York with wife Brigitte, with whom he has three children.

Milestones
  • 1940 Wertheimer family flees France as German troops advance towards Paris.
  • 1941 Coco Chanel fails to wrest control of Chanel from the Wertheimer family.
  • 1948 Alain Ernest Wertheimer is born.
  • 1951 Younger brother Gerard Paul Phillipe Wertheimer is born.
  • 1954 Wertheimer's grandfather Pierre takes full control of Chanel.
  • 1971 Coco Chanel dies in her hotel room at the Ritz in Paris.
  • 1978 Chanel introduces its first ready-to-wear clothing collection.
  • 1983 Karl Lagerfeld is appointed artistic director of Chanel's fashion division.
  • 1994 The brothers buy Bordeaux winery Chateau Rauzan-Segla.
  • 1996 With brother Gerard, Wertheimer takes ownership of Chanel on father's death.