Sotheby's to be Taken Private

I have had several appraisers send me a Wall Street Journal article on the potential sale of Sotheby's in a $2.66 billion offer. If this happens, and Sotheby's is purchased by entrepreneur Patrcik Drahi, Sotheby's would become private (similar to Christie's).

The Wall Street Journal reports
Global auction house Sotheby’s BID +58.66% has agreed to be taken private by art collector and media entrepreneur Patrick Drahi in a $2.66 billion deal.

Mr. Drahi, 55 years old, is buying Sotheby’s shares outstanding for $57 apiece, a deal that would end Sotheby’s 31-year streak as a public company, Sotheby’s said Monday. His offer represents a 61% premium to Sotheby’s closing price Friday.

Sotheby’s shares rose 57% to $55.73 in morning trading. Shares had been down 40% over the past 12 months through Friday’s close.

“After more than 30 years as a public company, the time is right for Sotheby’s to return to private ownership to continue on a path of growth and success,” Sotheby’s Chairman Domenico De Sole said in prepared remarks.

Mr. Drahi founded European telecommunications company Altice and is the controlling shareholder and board chairman of the company’s operations in the U.S.

In a statement, Mr. Drahi said he would finance the deal using personal funds and funds from BNP Paribas . He said he won’t sell any shares of Altice Europe NV to pay for the deal but plans to monetize as much as a $400 million stake in Altice USA by the end of 2019.

He also said he would still be mainly focused on the telecom and media industries.

New York-based Sotheby’s reported $1.04 billion in revenue for 2018, and profit of $108.6 million, but both measurements fell from a year prior.

Sotheby’s recorded $6.35 billion in sales last year through auctions, private sales and inventory sales, up from $5.49 billion in 2017. Sales topped $6.7 billion in both 2014 and 2015.

Sotheby’s recently renovated its gallery spaces at its Manhattan headquarters.
Source: The Wall Street Journal 

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