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Patrick Drahi.

Media Mogul Patrick Drahi Buys Sotheby’s Auction House for $3.7 Billion

Sotheby’s, the only major publicly traded auction house, will be acquired by BidFair USA, owned by collector and telecommunications entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, in a deal worth $3.7 billion. Under the merger agreement, which was announced by Sotheby’s earlier today, stakeholders will receive $57 in cash per share of common stock. If approved, the transition will mark the 275-year-old auction house’s return to private ownership after thirty-one years on the New York Stock Exchange.

“Patrick Drahi is one of the most well-regarded entrepreneurs in the world, and on behalf of everyone at Sotheby’s, I want to welcome him to the family,” Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith said in a 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. It positions us very well for our future and I strongly believe that the company will be in excellent hands for decades to come with Patrick as our owner.”

Domenico De Sole, chairman of the Sotheby’s board of directors, added: “Following a comprehensive review, the board enthusiastically supports Mr. Drahi’s offer, which delivers a significant premium to market for our shareholders.” According to the New York Times, following the announcement, the auction house’s shares rose more than 55 percent Monday morning.

The Israeli French media tycoon is the founder, board president, and controlling shareholder of Altice Europe. Since he established the company in the Netherlands in 2001, Drahi has built it into a multinational, broadband, telecommunications, media, digital, and advertising company. Serving 30 million customers, Altice operates primarily in France, Portugal, Israel, and the Caribbean. Altice also acquired Cablevision in 2016 and provides services in twenty-one states, including New York, New Jersey, and Texas.

Commenting on the agreement, Drahi said: “I am honored that the board of Sotheby’s has decided to recommend my offer. 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. We thank Domenico and the rest of the Sotheby’s board for its support and look forward to getting started with Tad and the wonderful members of his team to define our future.”

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