French media billionaire Patrick Draghi buys Sotheby's for $3.7 billion.

Sotheby's has been acquired by BidFair USA, wholly owned by French media and telecommunications entrepreneur and art collector Patrick Draghi (Patrick Drahi), in a deal worth about $3.7 billion. 

Unknown French media billionaire Patrick Draghi (Courtesy of Patrick Drahi). 
The deal means Sotheby's, like rival Christie's (Christie's), will become a private company owned by French billionaires after 31 years of public trading on the New York Stock Exchange. 

All shareholders, including employee shareholders, will receive $57 in common stock income from Sotheby's shares, 61 percent higher than the closing price of Sotheby's shares on June 14. "this is a huge market premium for our shareholders," Domenico Dessol (Domenico de Sole), chairman of Sotheby's board, said in a statement. " 

China Taikang Life, founded by Chen Dongsheng, paid about $230 million for a 13.5 percent stake in Sotheby's in 2016, becoming the largest shareholder in the international auction house. 

Ted Smith (Tad Smith), Sotheby's chief executive, said a "more flexible privatization environment" would allow Sotheby's to "accelerate" its growth plans. 

WechatIMG36's Sotheby's headquarters on 72nd Street, New York. 

Sotheby's became a UK-listed company in 1977 and became a private company after being acquired by Alfred Tubman (Alfred Taubman) in 1983. (Sotheby's Holdings, Inc), a "Sotheby's holding company", listed again in the United States in 1988 and changed its name to "Sotheby's" in 2006. 

"with my family, we are very keen to work with Sotheby's current management and its team to build the future of Sotheby's," Drahi said in a statement. " 

Mr. Drahi said he was "confident" in Sotheby's management and that "there are no foreseeable changes in the company's strategy." He added: "I make this investment for my family from a very long-term perspective, through my personal shareholdings. There is no capital link to Altice Europe or Altice USA. " 

Mr. Draghi said the acquisition "would be arranged and underwritten by BNP Paribas (BNP Paribas), as well as funded by the equity of my own fund." I am not going to sell any of my shares in Altice Europe NV to fund the deal; my aim is to monetize a small portion of Altice USA's assets of up to $400m by the end of the year. "