Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2019

Patrick Drahi Buys Sotheby’s for $3.7 Billion

After 31 years as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange Sotheby's, the most powerful auction house returning to private ownership.

Sotheby’s returning to private ownership after 31 years as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The most powerful and the first international auction house has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by media, telecom, and art collector Patrick Drahi’s company BidFair USA.

The Jewish-Israeli billionaire pays $57.00 in cash per share of Sotheby’s common stock in a transaction with an enterprise value of $3.7 billion.

The offer price represents a premium of 61% to Sotheby’s closing price on June 14, 2019, and a 56.3% premium to the company’s 30 trading-day volume weighted average share price.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019 following shareholder approval.

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. It expanded to the international market in 1955 as the company expanded to New York. In 1973 the company conducted first sales in Hong Kong, India (1992) and France (2001), and in 2012 Sotheby’s had the first fine art auction in China.

Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in 10 locations including New York, London, Hong Kong, and Paris. But not only fine art. Sotheby’s offers the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as the collection, artist, estate & foundation advisory services.

Sotheby’s presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, and three retail businesses: Sotheby’s Wine, Sotheby’s Diamonds, and Sotheby’s Home, the online marketplace for interior design.

Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries.

Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, said, “Patrick Drahi is one of the most well-regarded entrepreneurs in the world, and on behalf of everyone at Sotheby’s, I want to welcome him to the family.  Known for his commitment to innovation and ingenuity, Patrick founded and leads some of the most successful telecommunications, media and digital companies in the world.”

Domenico De Sole, Chairman of Sotheby’s Board of Directors, said, “Following a comprehensive review, the Board enthusiastically supports Mr. Drahi’s offer, which delivers a significant premium to market for our shareholders.  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.”

Patrick Drahi commented “Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world.  As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family.  We thank Domenico and the rest of the Sotheby’s Board for its support and look forward to getting started with Tad and the wonderful members of his team to define our future.”

About Patrick Drahi

Patrick Drahi, 55 years old, is a global entrepreneur with telecommunications, media and digital properties across the globe.

Mr. Drahi founded Altice in 2001 in Europe, and over the course of nearly 20 years, he has built and acquired telecommunications systems across the world, turning Altice into multinational broadband, telecommunications, media, digital and advertising company.

Today, Altice Europe is listed on Euronext Amsterdam (ATC & ATCB) and comprises operations notably in France, Portugal, Israel and the Caribbean, serving 30 million customers. Altice USA, which is listed on the NYSE (ATUS) is one of the largest broadband and video services providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5 million customers across 21 states, including New York, New Jersey, and Texas.

Mr. Drahi began his professional career with the Philips Group in 1988 where he was in charge of international marketing in the cable and satellite division. Then in 1991, he joined the US/Scandinavian group Kinnevik-Millisat, where he was in charge of the development of private cable networks in Spain and France and was involved in the launch of commercial TV stations in Eastern Europe.

In 1993, Mr. Drahi founded CMA, a consulting firm specialized in telecommunications and media, which was awarded a mandate from BCTV for the implementation of Beijing’s full-service cable network. Not long after, he founded two cable companies in France, Sud Câble Services (1994) and Médiaréseaux (1995).  When Médiaréseaux was taken over by UPC (which then became Liberty Global) at the end of 1999, Mr. Drahi led its activities for southern Europe before deciding to create Altice in 2001.

Mr. Drahi is a philanthropist in the fields of education, sciences, culture and the arts.

Mr. Drahi is a graduate of France’s Ecole Polytechnique, and of Ecole Nationale Supérieure de  Télécommunications, where he earned a post-graduate degree in optics and electronics.


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