Auction house Sotheby’s has announced it has signed an agreement to be purchased by French-Israeli media mogul Patrick Drahi for £2.95 billion.
The deal will see the 275-year-old London-founded company become a private entity after 31 years trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
“After more than 30 years as a public company, the time is right for Sotheby’s to return to private ownership to continue on a path of growth and success,” board chairman Domenico De Sole said.
Mr Drahi is the founder and controlling shareholder of French telecommunications firm Altice as well as companies in Israel, Portugal and the US.
He said he was “honoured” that Sotheby’s had recommended his offer, which will see shareholders compensated at £45.5 per share and represents a 61% premium on the New York-based company’s closing price on Friday.
“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 added.
The purchase by Mr Drahi’s BidFair USA company is expected to close in 2019’s fourth quarter after shareholder approval.
Sotheby’s auctions various works including fine art, books, jewels and wine.
It has 10 different salesrooms in cities including London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong.