Chrisite's on the Block?

Scott Reyburn writing for Bloomberg states that Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thanimay may be interested in purchasing Christie's. He already owns property in London as well as Harrods and is an avid collector who has purchased from Christie's in the past. French billionaire Francois Pinault controls the private company that owns Christie's, Groupe Artemis SA and recently stated that despite the rumors, there has been "no sale process initiated".

The rationale behind the Qatar interest seems interesting and makes sense in building the country's cultural status.

Reyburn reports

“Qatar is interested in Christie’s for three reasons,” Philip Hoffman, chief executive of the London-based Fine Art Fund, said in an interview. “It wants long-term value in the art market, it’s looking to diversify its economy and it’s after advice.”

Christie’s is a private company owned by the French billionaire Francois Pinault. The auction house was bought by his holding company, Groupe Artemis SA, for $1.2 billion in May 1998. It sold 1.71 billion pounds ($2.73 billion) of art in the first half, a 46 percent increase on 2009. Offerings of paintings, watches and jewelry in Dubai -- where the company’s Middle Eastern operations are based -- raised $23.7 million.

Artemis Statement

“Following recent press articles, Artemis indicates that no sale process has been initiated regarding Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, which is one of its strategic assets,” Artemis said in an e-mailed statement today. “Artemis reaffirms its intention to pursue the long-term development of Christie’s and its support of the company’s plan to build upon its global position.”
To read the Bloomberg article, click HERE.

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