SOTHEBY’S GOING DOWN THE TUBES, NOW BONHAMS WILL DISAPPEAR.
220-year-old British auction house Bonhams may be for sale. According to reports, a number of private equity firms have submitted first-round bids, with boutique investment bank Greenhill advising Bonhams on the sale. Currently, the auction house is controlled by two major shareholders, former race car driver Robert Brooks and Dutch collector and auctioneer Evert Louwman. Neither of the shareholders have made comments on the bids, but their ongoing aspirations to compete with top houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been no secret.
According to the Financial Times, Bonhams “reported profits of £25m last year with turnover at an all-time high of £127m. It also unveiled a £30m new saleroom at the top of Bond Street.” Bonhams also boasts showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Sydney, San Francisco, and Paris.
The auction house had one of its best years in 2013, making this an opportune time to sell. According to the Financial Times, reports indicate that the bid would value the company at “several hundred million pounds.” Possible suitors include the UK arm of Mitt Romney-founded Bain Capital, as well as Pret-a-Manger parent company Bridgepoint.
Brooks said “2013 was a year where we saw the Bonhams brand establish itself further on the global stage… We have put significant investment behind growing a brand that can compete effectively in the key auction markets of the world.”