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Sotheby announces its biggest sale – itself – for $ 3.7 billion: NPR




Sotheby says the board has accepted a purchase offer from telecoms Patrick Drahi. Here is the auction house headquarters seen on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images


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Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Sotheby says the board has accepted a purchase offer from telecoms Patrick Drahi. Here is the auction house's head office seen on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Updated at. 1:28 p.m. ET

Sotheby's has accepted a merger offer from entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, who will buy the auction house for $ 3.7 billion. The deal puts Sotheby's, founded in 1744, on the road to becoming a private company again.

"After over 30 years as a public company, it is right for Sotheby to return to private ownership to continue on a path of growth and success," said Domenico De Sole, head of Sotheby's board, in a statement on sales.

De Sole said the board "enthusiastically supports" Drahi's offer, which would pay shareholders $ 57 in cash per share – well above Friday's closing price of $ 35.38.

That payout reflects a 56.3% premium over the share's last 30-day average, says Sotheby.

Drahi is a French-Israeli billionaire who founded the Dutch-based telecommunications giant Altice – who has carried out multi-billion dollar acquisitions in recent years, including paying $ 17.7 billion to buy the Cablevision company in 2015.

Sotheby's acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, the company said. Before that can happen, the agreement must be approved by shareholders and regulators.

Drahi, 55, said he is "honored" that the board has chosen to accept the offer.

"Sotheby is one of the most elegant and ambitious brands in the world," Drahi said. "As a long-term client and lifetime advisor in the company, I buy Sotheby with my family."

Tad Smith, Sotheby's CEO, said the acquisition would allow the company to "accelerate the successful growth initiative program over several years in a more flexible private environment."

10 cities, from London and New York to Hong Kong and Paris. The auction house is also actively online through its BidNow program that enables potential buyers to view auctions and place bids over the Internet.

The sale of the auction is not expected to affect Sotheby's International Realty – it's the name of its own company that has been a subsidiary of the real estate company Realogy Holdings Corp since 2004. During that event, Realogy licenses Sotheby's name for its franchise program.



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