The French dominate the world of luxury and it is a great business to be in. That is the background to the decision of the French media baron Patrick Drahi to buy Sotheby’s, the London/New York auction house.
It heralds a new bout in the great battle for supremacy in the auction world, where its arch rival Christie’s has been pulling ahead. Last year, Christie’s sold $7bn (£5.5bn) in sales versus $5.2bn for Sotheby’s.
Sotheby’s was a publicly quoted company, on the New York Stock Exchange. Now it becomes a French private company. Since Christie’s is owned by the Groupe Artémis, the French holding group controlled by Francois-Henri Pinault, both major auction houses are French-owned.
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