Sotheby’s ceases publicly trading on the New York Stock Exchange as its $3.7bn sale to Patrick Drahi closes

Patrick Drahi is now the sole private owner of Sotheby's, which ceased trading publicly today. Courtesy of Patrick Drahi

Sothebys announced this morning that ownership of the auction house has officially transferred to BidFair USA, a company wholly owned by the French-Israeli media and telecom entrepreneur, and art collector, Patrick Drahi. The acquisition, which was announced in June of this year and valued at $3.7bn, returns the 275-year-old firm to private ownership after 31 years of trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The deal allows shareholders—including employee shareholders—to receive $57 in cash per share of Sothebys common stock. According to the papers filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today, the total cash payout to the companys stockholders was approximately $2.58bn.

As a result of the merger, Sotheby's chief financial officer Michael Goss left his post and has been replaced by Jean-Luc Berrebi, the former chief executive of Yafit Sàrl, a Geneva-based fund-management office, according to the SEC papers. The new appointment is effective immediately. Gosss compensation in the buy-out totals around $6.6m. Meanwhile, Sothebys chief executive Tad Smith, who remains in his role, will be compensated $28m for his shareholding.

A painting by Banksy depicting the UK House of Commons packed with chimpanzees, estimated at £1.5m, is being auctioned at Sotheby's contemporary evening sale in London tonight. Courtesy of Sotheby's

Sothebys declined to comment further on the details of the finalised sale, which comes hours ahead of the auction houses Frieze week contemporary evening sale in London and a day in advance of the start of its Hong Kong autumn sales. “This is an historic moment”, Smith said in September when Drahis acquisition was approved by a 91% majority shareholder vote.

After the auction house abruptly announced the deal in June, several shareholders filed lawsuits in New York to block the sale, at least until further disclosures were made to allow for an informed decision on the transaction. In its second quarter financial report, released in late July, Sothebys described the lawsuits brought by its shareholders as “routine” in the US.

Once the oldest company traded on the NYSE, Sothebys has been privatised previously in its history: shopping mall magnate Alfred Taubman bought the theRead More – Source