Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#381 Alain Merieux $4.91B

Random fact: Motto is "go and set all things on fire."


Merieux is the founder of BioMerieux, a developer of tools and tests that detect cancer and HIV. The Lyon, France-based business has about 10,000 employees and reported revenue of 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2016. Merieux also owns stakes in food tester Merieux NutriSciences and biotech firm Transgene.

As of Sept. 22, 2017:
Last change -$5.48M (-0.1%)
YTD change +$1.82B (+58.7%)
Industry Health Care
Biggest asset BIM FP Equity
Citizenship France
Age 79
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Alain Merieux's net worth of $4.91B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Merieux's fortune is derived from his 40 percent stake in BioMerieux, a medical diagnostic company. He holds the shares through his 68 percent stake in Institut Merieux, a closely held family holding company. Institut Merieux owns 59 percent of both BioMerieux and Transgene, a vaccine manufacturer. BioMerieux had 9,800 employees at the end of 2016, according to its annual report.

The investment vehicle also owns 70 percent of closely held Merieux NutriSciences, according to its company website. It's valued using the average entreprise value-to-sales and price-to-earnings multiple of three publicly listed peers: Intertek, ALS and Bio-Rad Laboratories.

A charitable foundation, set up in memory of the billionaire's two eldest sons, owns the remainder of Institut Merieux. These shares are not included in the calculation because Merieux doesn't exercise control over them. 

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, market performance, insider transactions, taxes and charitable contributions.

No response was received to e-mailed requests for comment on Merieux's net worth sent to his press office.


Birthdate: 7/10/1938
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1968, Harvard Business School, Graduated

Alain Merieux was born in France in 1938. His grandfather Marcel, set up Institut Merieux as a serum laboratory on a farm near Lyon after studying in the laboratory of Louis Pasteur in 1897.

Merieux started BD Merieux with Becton Dickinson in 1963. With Merieux becoming majority shareholder, the company, which specializes in biological diagnostic work, was renamed BioMerieux in 1974. He took control of the Institut Pasteur Production in France 10 years later and acquired the Connaught Laboratories in the United States in 1989, according to the Fondation Merieux website.

Alain Merieux has also been involved in political activities in France, where he was first vice-president of the board of the Rhone-Alpes region from 1986 until 1998, where he was in charge of foreign relations, economic development, research and secondary education.

The billionaire has received several of France's highest honors, including the Legion d'Honneur in 2004. He lives in France with his wife with whom he had three sons. His eldest son Christophe died of a heart attack in 2006. Middle son Rudolph died in a plane crash in 1996.

  • 1938 Alain Merieux is born.
  • 1963 Merieux founds BioMerieux.
  • 1975 Son Christophe is kidnapped on his way to school.
  • 1986 Becomes vice-president of board of France's Rhone-Alpes region.
  • 1989 Buys Connaught Laboratories in North America.
  • 1996 Second son Rodolphe dies in crash of flight TWA 800 near New York.
  • 2001 Founds family foundation in name of both deceased sons.
  • 2006 Christophe Merieux dies at 39 after heart attack.