275-Year-Old Sotheby's Goes Private In $3.7 Billion Buyout

After seeing its share price collapse over 40% in the past few months, 275-year-old Sotheby's (BID) has been scooped up by French-Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi for $3.7 billion.

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Founded in 1744, the auctioneer has long been a signal of imminent economic demise, so the telecom titan's buyout could well be catching a falling knife into recession, but for now, the avid art collector is excited:

“Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world,” Drahi said in the statement.

“As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family.”

Bloomberg reports the details. Investors will receive $57 in cash per share of Sotheby’s common stock under terms of the agreement, according to a statement Monday from the New York-based company. The offer price represents a 61% premium to Sotheby’s closing price on Friday. The transaction means Sotheby’s is returning to private ownership after 31 years as a public company.

Drahi, 55 - worth $8.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index - is the president of Altice Europe, a publicly traded telecommunications business with more than 30 million customers.

Full PR Statement:

Sotheby's today announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA, an entity wholly owned by media and telecom entrepreneur as well as an art collector, Patrick Drahi. Under the terms of the agreement, which was approved by Sotheby's Board of Directors, shareholders, including employee shareholders, will receive $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 would result in Sotheby's returning to private ownership after 31 years as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

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