French tycoon Drahi acquires Sotheby's in $3.7B deal: auction house

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
PARIS
Published 17.06.2019 16:57
Updated 17.06.2019 17:04
In this file photo taken on November 7, 2016 Altice CEO Patrick Drahi arrives for the launch of the new television channel BFM Paris in Paris. (AFP Photo)
In this file photo taken on November 7, 2016 Altice CEO Patrick Drahi arrives for the launch of the new television channel BFM Paris in Paris. (AFP Photo)

French-Israeli telecoms and media mogul Patrick Drahi is acquiring Sotheby's auction house, one of the world's biggest art brokers, in a $3.7 billion deal, the British-founded company said Monday.

Drahi, the billionaire head of the Altice empire which owns Virgin Mobile and several French media houses including BFM news channel and Liberation newspaper, is paying $57 per share to acquire Sotheby's through his company BidFair USA, the art house said.

The deal sees Sotheby's return to private ownership after 31 years as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Drahi's offer represents a 61% increase over Sotheby's closing price on Friday.

"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," Tad Smith, Sotheby's CEO, said in the statement.

"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," he added.

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