Sotheby’s plans to go public two years after privatization

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When French billionaire Patrick Drahi bought Sotheby’s and pulled the world’s second-largest auction house from public markets in 2019, the art world was shocked as Edvard Munch’s figure The Scream.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that Drahi is already considering whether Sotheby’s should go public again. Post-pandemic art sales boom that makes him look like the guy count your money at the Louvre probably does not interfere with his thinking.

Old paintings and new shoes

Sotheby’s, which goes hand in hand with its biggest rival Christie’s, was privatized by Drahi for $ 3.7 billion (including debt), but according to Bloomberg the serial dealmaker has approached financial advisers of its reopening on the stock market as early as next year.

Obviously, that would make Drahi a (more) rich man. In particular, it would give investors a better insight into the turbocharged auction sector. In the first half of 2021, auctions rose 230% as the industry recovered from the darkest days of the pandemic, according to arts data company Pi-eX. Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips led the pack with $ 5.8 billion in sales, more than triple the $ 1.75 billion they sold in the same months of 2020. The simultaneous growth of traditional segments and non-traditional is particularly important:

  • Sotheby’s raised $ 1.3 billion in its November branded sales, an online and in-person auction series focused primarily on traditional fine art.
  • In the spring, Sotheby’s brokered a $ 1.8 million sale of musician Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 sneakers and, in addition to the kicks, partnered with Nifty Gateway earlier this year for $ 16.8 million. in sales of works by famous crypto and digital artist Pak.

Rich Millennials: Sotheby’s said on Wednesday that 44% of 2021 bidders were newbies, many of whom were newly wealthy young people interested in luxury items like handbags, jewelry and wine. The new venture boosted Sotheby’s luxury goods sales to over $ 1 billion for the first time.

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