French-Israeli telecom and media mogul Patrick Drahi is acquiring Sotheby’s auction house, one of the world’s biggest art brokers, in a $3.7 billion deal, the British-founded company announced Monday.
Drahi is paying $57 per share to acquire Sotheby’s through his company BidFair USA, the art house said.
The billionaire is head of the Altice empire, which owns Virgin Mobile, and also controls Israeli TV station i24 News and cable TV operator Hot.
The deal sees Sotheby’s return to private ownership after 31 years as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
Drahi’s offer represents a 61 percent increase over Sotheby’s closing price on Friday. The company’s price leaped to over $55 on the move.
“Known for his commitment to innovation and ingenuity, Patrick founded and leads some of the most successful telecommunications, media and digital companies in the world,” Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, said in the 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,” he added.
According to Forbes, Drahi is worth an estimated $9.3 billion, making him one of the richest people in both Israel and France.