French-Israeli media mogul Drahi buys Sotheby’s for $3.7 billion
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French-Israeli media mogul Drahi buys Sotheby’s for $3.7 billion

New York auction house purchased by owner of Israeli Hot cable TV operator, to go private after 30 years on New York Stock exchange

Altice group's Chairman Patrick Drahi poses for photographers at the Scopus Awards of the French Friends of the Hebrew University, in Paris, France on March 18, 2015. (AP/Thibault Camus, File)
Altice group's Chairman Patrick Drahi poses for photographers at the Scopus Awards of the French Friends of the Hebrew University, in Paris, France on March 18, 2015. (AP/Thibault Camus, File)

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.

In this file photo taken on January 30, 2019 at Sotheby’s in New York, Sotheby’s employees take phone bids on an art work. (Don EMMERT / AFP)

“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.

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