Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More on the Phillips Deal

Judd Tully reports that "although the sums involved in the private transaction were not released, a source familiar with the deal says that Mercury paid approximately $60 million for its majority share, of which 'around 50 percent' was to cover Phillips’s debt." He adds:

"The takeover caps a nearly 10-year roller-coaster ride for [Phillips]. In 1999 the French businessman Bernard Arnault and his LVHM group acquired Phillips for a reported $120 million. A year later, Arnault brought in the former Sotheby’s executives Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg to run the company, which he merged with their Zurich gallery, de Pury & Luxembourg. The resulting firm, Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, was cast as a threat to the duopoly of Christie’s and Sotheby’s. After huge investments failed to win Phillips a significant share of the Impressionist, modern and contemporary art markets, LVHM’s ambitious strategy foundered in a sea of red ink. Arnault and company gradually bowed out of the partnership, ceding control to de Pury & Luxembourg in February 2002; the following January, LVHM sold its remaining stake for a token sum. In March 2004 Luxembourg resigned to start her own dealership and art-investment fund, selling her shares to de Pury, with whom she still maintains the Zurich gallery, which Mercury did not acquire in the deal."