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Sotheby's will be privatized by a group owned by art collector Drahi

Sotheby's Auction in Hong Kong.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

The auction house Sotheby's announced Monday it has signed an agreement on the acquisition of BidFair USA, a company wholly owned by the French media entrepreneur and art collector. Patrick Drahi.

Sotheby's stakeholders will receive $ 57 per share in cash as a result of the transition, a 61% premium on Friday's stock price. The transaction is valued at $ 3.7 billion.

The transaction, if approved by shareholders, would result in Sotheby's return to private ownership after 31 years as a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The stock rose about 57% in early trading on Monday after the announcement.

Patrick Drahi, president of the French telecoms and media group Altice, smiles during the inauguration of Campus Altice in Paris on October 9, 2018.

Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images

"Patrick Drahi is one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the world and, on behalf of all Sotheby's employees, I welcome his family," said Sotheby's CEO & # 39; s , Tad Smith, in a press release. "This acquisition will provide Sotheby 's with the opportunity to accelerate the program of successful growth initiatives of the past few years in a more flexible private environment.

In the first half of 2018, Sotheby's was # 2 worldwide in art sales companies with a business turnover of more than $ 2 billion. David Faber, of CNBC, first announced that Sotheby's would be sold, citing people close to the file.

LionTree Advisors is Sotheby's financial advisor, while Sullivan & Cromwell acts as legal counsel.

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