Sotheby's sold! French-Israeli billionaire pays $3.7B

Sotheby's auction house in New York

NEW YORK (AP) — The 275-year-old auction house Sotheby’s is being sold to a French-Israeli businessman for about $3.7 billion.

Sotheby’s, founded in London in 1744, is the oldest company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. If the deal is approved by shareholders and regulators, Sotheby’s would become a privately held company for the first time in more than three decades.

The company, now based in New York, holds auctions in 10 salesrooms worldwide with annual sales turnover exceeding $4 billion. It reported an adjusted profit last year of near $130 million and revenue of more than $1 billion.

“Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world," said the buyer, Patrick Drahi. “As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family.”

Drahi, 54, is the founder and controlling shareholder of Altice, which provides telecommunications services in France and elsewhere. The French billionaire, through his BidFair USA company, will pay $57 per share.

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