11:47 GMT26 January 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Sotheby's said in a news release on Monday it has signed an agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA that would take the 275-year-old art clearinghouse private after 31 years on the New York Stock Exchange.

    "Sotheby's today announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by BidFair USA, an entity wholly owned by media and telecom entrepreneur as well as art collector, Patrick Drahi," the release said.

    Under the terms of the deal, which was approved by Sotheby's board of directors, shareholders will receive $57 in cash per share of Sotheby's common stock in a transaction valued at $3.7 billion, according to the release.

    The offer price represents 61 per cent markup to Sotheby’s closing price on 14 June and a 56.3 per cent premium to the company's 30-day average share price.

    "Following a comprehensive review, the Board enthusiastically supports Mr. Drahi's offer, which delivers a significant premium to market for our shareholders. After more than 30 years as a public company, the time is right for Sotheby's to return to private ownership to continue on a path of growth and success," Sotheby's Board of Directors Chairman Domenico De Sole said in the release.

    The deal remains subject to a customary condition, including regulatory clearance and shareholder approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.

    Sotheby's was founded in London in 1744 and today it has 80 offices around the world, with its headquarters in New York.

    Drahi, 55, founded media company Altice in 2001. Altice USA has grown into one of the largest cable providers in the United States, serving 5 million customers across 21 states.

    auction, agreement, sale, Sotheby's
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