Talk about a power lunch. It’s not every day that the world’s two richest people sit down for a meal together, but it happened Friday in Paris when Tesla CEO and LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault dined at Cheval Blanc with family members.
Each man is worth well over $220 billion, with Musk currently holding the richest-person title they’ve repeatedly traded.
Also at the lunch was Musk’s mother, Maye Musk, and Arnault’s oldest son Antoine, who posted photos from the lunch meeting on his Instagram account.
Elon Musk, his mom Maye just finished having lunch with Bernard Arnault and his sons Antoine and Alexandre. Power lunching in Paris at Cheval Blanc. On a glorious sunny day. @elonmusk @LVMH @mayemusk @alexarnault #VivaTech pics: Antoine’s Instagram- no details on topics discussed pic.twitter.com/UkCgRY6b8x
— Angelina Rascouët (@arascouet) June 16, 2023
Several European countries want to host Tesla’s next battery factory, and Musk has been on a tour of the continent meeting various leaders, including Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Musk also spoke at the VivaTech conference in France on Friday, reiterating his warnings on the dangers to humanity posed by artificial intelligence, while also admitting that he “didn’t think anyone would actually agree” to the pause on A.I. development he called for back in March.
He also joked, “If I’m so smart, why did I pay so much for Twitter?”
The two billionaires are familiar figures on the rich list. Arnault has built LVMH into the world’s biggest luxury group—think Louis Vuitton luggage, Moet champagne, or Givenchy perfume. He bested Musk last year but took a hit as the slowing economic recovery in a China—a key market for luxury goods—made investors less enthusiastic about LVMH shares.
Tesla shares, meanwhile, have surged more than 140% this year, helping Musk reclaim his perch last month. Musk is also CEO of SpaceX and could see his wealth soar even higher if the company spins off its Starlink satellite-broadband unit in an IPO.
It wasn’t the first meeting between Musk and Arnault. They also met in Los Angeles last year, with the luxury tycoon later admitting to The Telegraph that he made a faux pas by laughing when Musk said he would colonize Mars. “I thought he was joking,” Arnault told the British paper. “But he was serious, and I don’t think he was best pleased.”
Musk could have the last laugh thanks to his space ambitions. In January, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya predicted that a Starlink IPO would happen this year and that Starlink’s valuation “will be at least half of SpaceX’s current private worth.” That same month, CNBC reported that Musk’s space company had raised $750 million at $137 billion valuation.