Forbe's "Real-Time Billionaires List", which tracks the net worth of the richest people in the world, placed Gates at $107 billion and Bezos at $110.2 billion on Monday. A deal could be announced later on Sunday or on Monday, two other sources said.
"It is also a bet on China's economy and its consumers, whose fast-rising incomes have made them the luxury industry's most important customers". Last week, LVMH sweetened its bid to $130 a share and was granted access to review Tiffany's books, which then prompted the French giant to raise its offer again. While the company dwarfs Tiffany, with sales of about US$50 billion, some analysts had predicted LVMH might need to pay even more, with price targets of US$140 at Credit Suisse and US$160 at Cowen.
Known for its signature robin's egg blue packaging, Tiffany rebuffed LVMH's initial advance made just five weeks ago, arguing it significantly undervalued the company. Tiffany, founded in NY in 1837 and featured in the 1961 movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's", had struggled with falling annual sales and profit since 2015, before a revenue turnaround in 2017.
The revised offer was the second time that LVMH raised its bid for Tiffany, which is something of a NY institution.
LVMH - of which Arnault and his family own more than 47%, per CNN - now claims more than 70 luxury brands under its umbrella, including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Celine, Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Dom Perignon champagne, according to Fortune.
It says both companies' boards approved the deal and hope to finalise the takeover in 2020 subject to the approval of regulators and Tiffany shareholders.
It also lets LVMH tap into a different type of luxury demand, from clients who view their purchase as more of an investment than an impulse buy. "In search of growth, Tiffany is building flagship stores in several Chinese cities", WSJ.
Competition from lower-priced rivals such as Denmark's Pandora A/S and Signet Jewelers has muddied the waters in recent years, but LVMH is likely to want to position the brand at the higher end of the market, which is more profitable.
Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co gave LVMH financial advice, while Tiffany hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The final deal was for $135 per share, or $16.2 billion, one of the largest transactions in LVMH's history. "As part of the LVMH group, Tiffany will reach new heights, capitalizing on its remarkable internal expertise, unparalleled craftsmanship and strong cultural values".