By Lenore Fedow
Entrepreneur Patrick Drahi is the founder of telecom giant Altice and the soon-to-be owner of auction house Sotheby’s.
New York—Sotheby’s announced Monday that it has agreed to be acquired by BidFair USA, a company owned by billionaire media mogul Patrick Drahi, in a deal valued at $3.7 billion.

The auction house, which has traded on the New York Stock Exchange for 31 years, will be taken private as a result.

As per the terms of the deal, shareholders will receive $57 per share, a 61 percent premium to the auction house’s closing stock price Friday.

“This acquisition will provide Sotheby’s with the opportunity to accelerate the successful program of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment,” Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith said in the company statement on the acquisition.

A buyer and collector of art, Drahi made his fortune in telecommunications, founding Altice, a media and communications company, in 2001.

The business got its start in Europe, serving customers in France and beyond, then expanded into the U.S. market, providing telecom services across 21 states.

He serves as president of Altice Europe and the chairman of the board at Altice USA.

Drahi described himself as a “lifetime admirer” of Sotheby’s, “one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world.”

Sotheby’s board of directors have approved the deal, but it is still subject to shareholder approval. The auction house said it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter.

Founded in London in 1744, Sotheby’s now has a total of 10 sales rooms worldwide, including New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva, and its online auction house, Sotheby’s Bid Now.

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