Auctioneers Sotheby’s is being taken private, in a deal which values the business at $3.7bn (£2.9bn), the company said today.
Patrick Drahi, the founder of telecoms giant Altice Europe, will pay $57 per share, a 61 per cent premium to the firm’s close on Friday.
The billionaire art collector will take Sotheby’s into private ownership after 31 years on the New York Stock Exchange.
Chief executive Tad Smith said the deal will allow Sotheby’s to accelerate its growth initiatives in a “more flexible” environment.
“[Drahi] 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,” he said.
Drahi has already secured funds for the cash deal, the company said.
Founded in London in 1744, Sotheby’s expanded to New York in the 1950s. It has since run sales in Hong Kong, India, France and oversaw the first international fine art auction in China in 2012.
French-Israeli Drahi founded Altice in 2001, building it to one of France’s biggest telecoms businesses.
“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,” he said.
After the news shares in Sotheby’s soared 57 per cent to $55.65.