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Sotheby’s Offers Staff Buyouts

Coming just on the heels of the auction house’s recent contemporary evening sale, Robin Pogrebin reports in the New York Times that Sotheby’s has offered its employees voluntary buyouts in order to cut costs. The company’s stock price has been in decline over the previous six months, and last Monday their third-quarter results showed that commissions from Sotheby’s auction sales during this period were $56 million, a decrease of twelve percent as compared to the same period in 2014.

Tad Smith, the chief executive of Sotheby’s, said in a memo emailed to staff on Friday that he would “certainly understand that announcing a cost reduction program right after two weeks of dazzling sales may be unexpected,” adding that “our company would benefit from a lower and more flexible cost structure” by giving “colleagues an attractive economic opportunity to volunteer to resign, should they wish to do so.” If the buyouts don’t lead to the necessary cost reductions, Sotheby’s may head towards layoffs.