A minority stake is available for purchase at Sotheby’s after its French Israeli owner, Patrick Drahi, harnessed resources in connection with his telco conglomerate Altice. The auction house approached a few potential buyers, but Sotheby’s CEO Charlie Stewart disputed the auction company is taking bids from the general public.
A Minority Stake Sale is Not for General Public
The Financial Times reported the story on the auction house. Overall, their report consists of two anonymous sources. They explained how the auction house contacted European-based affluent investors. Thus too was the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), an entity dedicated to managing money, founded in 2005 and controls the government of Qatar’s holdings.
According to reports, the QIA had conversations with the proprietor of the auction house a year ago over buying a share in Sotheby’s. This entity wanted to do it through a possible capital raise, a move intended to fund a new venture. According to the article, Drahi did not officially explore intentions to sell his interest in Sotheby’s. The conversations came to an end.
In 2019, Drahi paid $3.7 billion through his family business to acquire the auction business. Following the owner’s August statement, there were private offers for the sale of a minority position in Sotheby’s. He had a strategy to use Altice’s holdings as leverage to pay off a $60 billion loan. The debt generated as a result of purchases made in Israel, the US, Portugal, and France.
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Sotheby’s Shows Strenght
The CEO of Sotheby’s, Stewart, refuted Drahi’s rumoured plans to take Sotheby’s public in an interview recently with Bloomberg. Additionally, he stated that the company didn’t require capital raising to finance its activities. In the run-up to initial public offerings (IPOs), firms frequently make partial sales pitches to private investors.
Stewart also stated in the interview that periodically gauging investor interest is typical. He claimed that Sotheby’s recently showed “strength”. He also noted aales of the house will likely reach $8 billion in 2023, or around identically as they did the year before. The QIA and Sotheby’s personnel chose not to respond when asked why the talks terminated.
The announcement arrives at a time when wealth managers and their allies are tense due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. The CEOs of auction houses have mostly refrained from discussing how the war would affect their companies and have not made any public comments on the fighting.