Tuesday 16 July 2019
 
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Patrick Drahi

French tycoon to acquire Sotheby’s for $3.7bn

NEW YORK, 27 days ago

Sotheby’s, a global brokers of fine and decorative art and jewellery, has signed a merger agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA, wholly owned by media and telecom entrepreneur as well as art collector, French billionaire Patrick Drahi.  

Under the terms of the agreement, Sotheby’s shareholders will receive $57 per share in cash transaction valued at $3.7 billion.  

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

The transaction would result in Sotheby’s returning to private ownership after 31 years as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

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.”

“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.   This acquisition will provide Sotheby’s with the opportunity to accelerate the successful program of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment. It positions us very well for our future and I strongly believe that the company will be in excellent hands for decades to come with Patrick as our owner,” he added.

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.”

“I am honoured that the Board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer,” commented Patrick Drahi.  “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.”

The  closing  of  the  deal  is  subject  to  customary  conditions,  including  regulatory  clearance  and  shareholder  approvals, but is not subject to the availability of financing.  The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019 following shareholder approval.

LionTree Advisors is serving as financial advisor to Sotheby’s in connection with the transaction, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is serving as the company’s legal counsel. BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley are acting as financial advisors to BidFair, BNP Paribas acted as sole financing provider, and Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Ropes & Gray International LLP are serving as its   legal advisors. – TradeArabia News Service




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