ONE OF SOTHEBY'S MOST IMPORTANT SALE EVER... THE AUCTION HOUSE SELLS FOR $3.7 BILLION
One of the world’s most prominent auction houses has a new owner, Sotheby’s, the 275-year-old auction house, has been sold to French-Israeli collector and entrepreneur Patrick Drahi CEO and owner of BidFair USA.
After more than 3 decades as a public owned company Sotheby's will now go into private ownership following it's $3.7billion sale. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by Sotheby’s board of directors and shareholders— shareholders will receive $57 in cash per share of common stock, significantly higher than where the shares are currently trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Over the past year, the stock had dropped over 40 percent, from $56 to a low of around $32. In early trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, the shares had already boomeranged to over $55 following news of the acquisition.
Despite record art sales in the last few years, Sotheby's have struggled with high overhead costs and shrinking margins as collectors demand ever more favorable terms and houses enter into complex financial guarantees with outside parties to offset risk.
This is not the first time that Sotheby's has gone private. The house that began auctioning books and estates in London in 1744 became a public company in the U.K. in 1977 before it was bought by Michigan shopping-mall tycoon A. Alfred Taubman in 1983. Sotheby’s went public again in 1988 after Mr. Taubman was convicted in 2001 and jailed for nearly a year for his part in embroiling the company in a price-fixing scheme with Christie’s.
With this sale both Christie's and Sotheby's action houses are now owned by French Billionaires, Christie’s, based in London, is owned by Groupe Artémis, the holding company of luxury-goods magnate and well-known collector, François-Henri Pinault.