Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#39 Serge Dassault $21.7B

Random fact: Father Marcel inspired Tintin character Laszlo Carreidas.

Overview

Dassault is chief executive officer of Dassault Group, a Paris-based company that controls military jet plane maker Dassault Aviation and software provider Dassault Systemes. These two businesses had combined revenue of 6.7 billion euros ($7.4 billion) in 2016. His family also own auction house Artcurial and publisher Le Groupe Figaro.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change -$142M (-0.7%)
YTD change +$6.49B (+42.5%)
Industry Industrial
Biggest asset DSY FP Equity
Citizenship France
Age 92
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Serge Dassault's net worth of $21.7B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of the Dassault family's fortune is derived from stakes in two publicly traded companies, software maker Dassault Systemes and aircraft builder Dassault Aviation. They own about 41 percent of Dassault Systemes and 62 percent of Dassault Aviation through holding company Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault (Dassault Group).

The family also has a majority stake in real estate investment fund Dassault Immobiliere, as well as minority stakes in several other publicly traded companies, including utility group Veolia Environnement, biomedical company Biomerieux and gas distributor Rubis.

Dassault acquired closely held Le Groupe Figaro for an undisclosed price in 2004. The valuation of the French publisher is based on the average enterprise value-to-sales multiple of three comparable publicly traded peers: Axel Springer, Daily Mail and General Trust and The New York Times Co. Dassault Group also owns a 55 percent stake in France's largest auction house, closely held Artcurial, which is valued using the price-to-earnings multiple of Sotheby's, its closest publicly traded peer.

The family also owns Chateau Dassault, a Bordeaux winery that is valued on the basis of recent transactions for similar properties in the Saint-Emilion appellation. Dassault's cash holdings are valued based on an analysis of dividends, market performance, insider transactions, taxes and charitable contributions.

Olivier Costa de Beauregard, managing director of Dassault's holding company, did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment in September 2017.

Biography

Birthdate: 4/4/1925
Family: Married, 4 children

Serge Dassault was born in Paris in 1925, one of two sons of Madeline Minckes and the aviation legend Marcel Bloch. An airplane engineer, his father invented a type of propeller that was used by the French army during World War I. After starting his own aircraft manufacturer in December 1936, the elder Dassault was well-positioned to supply aircraft to the military for World War II.

Of Jewish heritage, Marcel was captured by the Nazis, stripped of his property and deported to Germany's Buchenwald concentration camp, where he spent eight months for refusing to cooperate with the German regime. After the war, the family changed its name from Bloch to Dassault. Derived from the word for "assault tank" in French, it was also the alias used by Marcel's brother, General Paul Bloch, who fought for the French resistance.

By the mid-1960s, Dassault Aviation was the French air force's largest supplier. Exports were rising as well, growing from 58 percent of its business to 75 percent by 1977. Dassault founded Dassault Systemes, which developed proprietary computer technology for designing and building aircraft, in 1981.

After Marcel's death in 1986, Serge became chief executive of the family's Dassault Group holding company at age 63. Since taking the helm, Serge has fought to keep the family-controlled businesses independent and, in the early 1990s, rebuffed efforts by the Socialist Mitterrand government to nationalize the aviation business. He has also diversified the family empire, establishing an investment trust, Immobiliere Dassault, to expand its real estate holdings, and buying Le Groupe Figaro, publisher of one of France's best-known newspapers. In 1998, a Belgian court gave him a two-year suspended prison sentence for bribing politicians to win defense contracts.

Like his father, who served as a senator for the Gaullist party, the billionaire has pursued politics as a second career. A member of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement party, he was elected mayor of the Paris suburb of Corbeil-Essonnes in 1995, and stripped of the position 14 years later, when a civil court found him guilty of making cash payments to voters.

His four children -- Olivier, Laurent, Thierry and Marie-Helene -- are all involved with Dassault Group businesses.

Milestones
  • 1925 Serge Bloch is born in Paris, son of Marcel Bloch.
  • 1936 Marcel founds the company that later becomes Dassault Aviation.
  • 1945 Marcel is imprisoned at Buchenwald for eight months.
  • 1949 Family changes name to Dassault, after uncle's nom de guerre.
  • 1986 Serge becomes CEO of Dassault Group after Marcel dies.
  • 1995 Serge elected mayor of Parisian suburb Corbeil-Essonnes.
  • 1998 A Belgian court finds Serge guilty of bribing politicians.
  • 2009 Convicted of bribing voters, Serge is stripped of mayoral role.