On Friday, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the world’s wealthiest woman, saw a significant drop in her net worth. This was due to a sharp decline in the shares of L’Oreal, a French beauty company in which the billionaire and her family own about one-third. The company’s shares experienced their worst single-day performance since the Great Recession, leading to a $6.9 billion reduction in Bettencourt Meyers and her family’s fortune, which now stands at $91.7 billion. This made the 70-year-old the biggest loser among billionaires on Friday, according to Forbes’ real-time billionaire tracker.
Despite the decline, Bettencourt Meyers remains the 15th-richest person on the planet and the richest woman by far, with a fortune roughly $26 billion larger than the second-richest woman, Alice Walton, who is a Walmart heiress. The drop in L’Oreal’s stock price came after the firm’s quarterly sales fell short of analyst estimates, with a significant slowdown in its Asia business. As a result, the stock fell nearly 8% to a three-month low on Friday, marking the worst day for Paris-listed shares of L’Oreal since October 27, 2008, according to FactSet data.
Bettencourt Meyers owes much of her wealth to her family’s stake in L’Oreal, as she is the granddaughter of the company’s founder, Eugène Schueller, and the sole daughter of the former wealthiest woman in the world, Liliane Bettencourt. She holds the position of vice chairwoman of L’Oreal’s board. L’Oreal is the sixth-most valuable company in Europe by market capitalization, and its subsidiaries include well-known brands such as Kiehl’s, Maybelline, and Garnier. The decline in L’Oreal’s stock this year has led to a $25 billion drop in market cap.