Sotheby’s will be taken private after reaching a deal to be acquired by art collector and billionaire telecom entrepreneur Patrick Drahi for $3.7 billion.
The New York City-based auction house announced Monday it will be acquired by Drahi’s BidFair USA. Sotheby’s shareholders will receive $57 in cash per share of the company’s common stock, an offer that represents a 61 percent premium to the stock’s closing price on Friday. Sotheby’s will return to private ownership 31 years after it went public.
“I am honored that the Board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer,” Drahi said in a statement Monday. “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.”
Drahi thanked Domenico De Sole, chairman of Sotheby’s board of directors, and others on the board for their support.
The deal is expected to close in this year’s fourth quarter following shareholder approval.
Sotheby’s shares were up following the merger announcement.
The company’s CEO Tad Smith called Drahi “one of the most well-regarded entrepreneurs in the world.”
“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,” Smith said. “He has a long-term view and shares our brand vision for great client service and employing innovation to enhance the value of the company for clients and employees.”
Sotheby’s, which recently renovated its gallery spaces in Manhattan, had $6.35 billion in sales composed from auctions, private and inventory sales in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Drahi, 55, is the founder and controlling shareholder of Altice, which provides telecommunications services in France and elsewhere. The billionaire has expanded his telecom and media operations internationally, with businesses in Portugal, Israel, the U.S. and Dominican Republic. Altice bought the New York-area Cablevision cable company in 2015 and spun off an American business arm in 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.