Sotheby's Reports Third Quarter and First Nine Months 2012 Financial Results

Sotheby's Reports Third Quarter and First Nine Months 2012 Financial Results

               *Total Revenues Increase 18% in the Third Quarter
         *Private Sale Commission Revenues Increase 50% in the Quarter
      *Third Quarter Pre-Tax Results Improve 20% Compared to One Year Ago

NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) today reported
financial results for the third quarter and first nine months ended September
30, 2012.

Sotheby's reported third quarter 2012 revenues increased 18%, to $68.5
million, driven by a $4.9 million, or 50% improvement in private sale
commission revenues and a $1.6 million, or 56% increase in Finance segment
revenues. Largely due to these revenue increases, the Company reported a
pre-tax loss of ($46.4) million for the quarter, compared to a pre-tax loss of
($57.9) million in the prior year – an $11.5 million, or 20% improvement.

For the three months ended September 30, 2012, Sotheby's reported a net loss
of ($32.6) million, which reflects a slight $2.8 million deterioration from
the prior year due to an $11.6 million tax benefit recognized in the third
quarter of 2011 as a result of the reversal of a valuation allowance against
certain of Sotheby's deferred tax assets.

Because of the seasonal nature of the art auction market, third quarter
Auction Sales have historically represented approximately 7%-10% of annual
Auction Sales resulting in a loss period for the Company. Third quarter
results are typically not indicative of expected full year results. Management
believes that investors should focus on results for six and twelve month
periods, which better reflect the auction market business cycle.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, Sotheby's net income declined
$57.7 million, or 58%, when compared to the prior year. This decrease is
primarily due to lower auction commission revenues resulting from a $433.5
million, or 16%, reduction in Net Auction Sales, compared to a 2011 period
with a historically unprecedented level of single owner sales. The decline in
year-to-date auction commission revenues is partially offset by an $8.2
million, or 17%, increase in private sale commission revenues and a $6.4
million decrease in Dealer Segment inventory writedowns, as well as $4.5
million of charges recorded in 2011 from restructuring actions to streamline
Sotheby's European selling operations.

In September, Sotheby's successfully issued $300 million in ten year notes at
5.25% which is far below the existing effective interest rate for Sotheby's
current high yield debt of 7.83%. The net proceeds of the issuance of these
notes will be used to redeem all of the outstanding ($80 million) 7.75% Senior
Notes in November 2012 and for general corporate purposes, including the
repayment of other existing indebtedness. The Company intends to utilize
$181.9 million of the net proceeds to settle the 3.125% Convertible Notes,
which mature in June 2013.

"Sotheby's continues to see considerable demand for precious works of art,"
said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our sales in
London last month brought record results and starting this evening and in the
coming weeks, we will offer for sale the finest collection of paintings,
drawings, sculpture and jewels available in the world – including a number of
rare works that we are very excited about. The art market remains quite
robust, especially at the high end."

Fourth Quarter Sales To Date

Sotheby's launched the fourth quarter with a series of sales in Hong Kong that
took place early last month.Over 3,150 lots were sold over the five days of
auctions bringing a total of $261.9 million, towards the high end of the
pre-sale estimate range of $212/$287 million but below the Fall 2011 level of
$410.8 million.For traditional Chinese art categories, the Fine Chinese
Paintings sale doubled the pre-sale estimate, and in the Chinese Ceramics and
Works of Art sale, a pair of enameled double-gourd vases from the Qianlong
period brought the extraordinary price of $13.7 million. Auction records were
set for a Southeast Asian painting, the artist Lee Man Fong, as well as the
contemporary Chinese artist Liu Wei. Also achieved were the strongest total
for a wine sale series in Hong Kong in 2012, a record for a various-owner sale
of watches at Sotheby's worldwide as well as the sale of an 88.88 carat
diamond necklace for a remarkable $5.1 million.

In conjunction with Frieze week in London in October, our Contemporary and
Italian Art sales brought excellent results.The week series totaled $112.1
million, at the high end of the pre-sale estimate and a record total for a
London October sales series in the category.Highlighting the sales was
Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild from the collection of Eric Clapton which
also earned a record for the artist at auction when it sold for $34.9 million.

Upcoming Sales

Tonight in New York, at our evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art, are
two legendary portraits of Pablo Picasso's mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter,
Nature Morte aux Tulipes and Femme à la Fenêtre (pre-sale estimates of $35/$50
million and $15/$20 million, respectively).The former was painted in 1932,
which has been recognized as the pinnacle of Picasso's near-century long
production while the latter is part of a group of works that have come to
epitomize Surrealist figurative painting at its most impassioned and dramatic.
The auction is further distinguished by works from both prominent estates and
important American museum collections, including works by Paul Cézanne, Henry
Moore, Claude Monet and more.The total pre-sale estimate for the evening sale
is $173/$251 million.

Next week in New York, Sotheby's Contemporary Art sales are highlighted by
Mark Rothko's No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue).The large scale masterpiece was one
of eight works chosen by Rothko for his landmark solo show in 1954 at the Art
Institute of Chicago (pre-sale estimate of $35/$50 million). Also featured in
the sale is Jackson Pollock's Number 4, 1951, a rare drip painting on canvas
(pre-sale estimate of $25/35 million) and one of the most important versions
of Francis Bacon's iconic Pope Paintings ever to have appeared at auction,
Untitled (Pope) (pre-sale estimate of $18/25 million).The total sale series
carries a pre-sale estimate of $363/$502 million.

Note: Estimates do not include buyer's premium.Sale totals for auctions
discussed in this release include buyer's premium.

All Sotheby's Press Releases and SEC filings are available on our web site at An outline of the conference call will be available at

Sotheby's will host a conference call at 4:45 PM EST on November 8, 2012, to
discuss its third quarter and first nine months 2012 financial results.
Please dial 888-371-8897 and for callers outside the United States, Puerto
Rico and Canada, please dial 1-970-315-0479, approximately 15 minutes before
the scheduled start of the call.The call reservation number is 38294000.

The conference call will also be accessible via webcast on the Investor
Relations section of the Sotheby's web site at

About Sotheby's

Sotheby's is a global company that engages in art auction, private sales and
art-related financing activities.The Company operates in 40 countries, with
principal salesrooms located in New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris.The
Company also regularly conducts auctions in six other salesrooms around the
world. Sotheby's is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol
BID.For information, please visit

Forward-looking Statements

This release contains certain "forward-looking statements" (as such term is
defined in the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) relating to
future events and the financial performance of the Company.Such statements
are only predictions and involve risks and uncertainties, resulting in the
possibility that the actual events or performances will differ materially from
such predictions.Major factors, which the Company believes could cause the
actual results to differ materially from the predicted results in the
"forward-looking statements" include, but are not limited to, the overall
strength of the international economy and financial markets, political
conditions in various nations, competition with other auctioneers and art
dealers, the success of our risk reduction and margin improvement efforts, the
amount of quality property being consigned to art auction houses and the
marketability at auction of such property.Please refer to our most recently
filed Form 10-Q (and/or 10-K) for a complete list of Risk Factors.

Financial Table Follows

                                                             APPENDIX A
(Thousands of dollars, except per share data)
                      Three Months Ended          Nine Months Ended
                      September 30, September 30, September 30, September 30,
                      2012          2011          2012          2011
Auction and related    $59,711     $52,916     $447,272    $516,841
Finance revenues       4,572         2,923         12,727        9,022
Dealer revenues        1,815         591          11,887       16,848
License fee revenues   2,046        1,408        4,539        4,119
Other revenues         317           372           944           757
Total revenues         68,461        58,210        477,369       547,587
Direct costs of        4,225        5,083        38,924        40,295
Dealer cost of sales   2,553        6,012        11,624        20,267
Marketing expenses     3,500        2,803        12,508        10,639
Salaries and related   53,447       45,724       194,549       194,186
General and
administrative         37,980       37,404       116,753       110,788
Depreciation and       4,690        4,461        13,244        12,803
amortization expense
Restructuring charges, (25)         2,208        (3)           4,476
Total expenses         106,370       103,695       387,599       393,454
Operating (loss)       (37,909)      (45,485)      89,770        154,133
Interest income        280          530          1,102         3,667
Interest expense       (10,390)     (10,330)     (30,682)      (31,277)
Extinguishment of      --           (1,529)      --           (1,529)
debt, net
Other income (expense) 1,596        (1,086)      2,391         (1,455)
(Loss) income before   (46,423)      (57,900)      62,581        123,539
Equity in earnings
(losses) of investees, 17           (25)         194           28
net of taxes
Income tax (benefit)   (13,841)     (28,206)     20,574        23,631
Net (loss) income      $(32,565)   $(29,719)   $42,201     $99,936
Basic (loss) earnings
per share - Sotheby's  $(0.48)     $(0.44)     $0.62       $1.47
common shareholders
Diluted (loss)
earningsper share -   $(0.48)     $(0.44)     $0.61       $1.43
Sotheby's common
Weighted average basic 67,771        67,410        67,661        67,263
shares outstanding
Weighted average
diluted shares         67,771        67,410        68,494        69,075
Cash dividends paid    $ 0.08        $ 0.05        $ 0.24        $ 0.15
per common share

CONTACT: Press Department
         212 606 7176
         Andrew Gully
         Press Department
         +44 (0) 20 7293 5168
         Matthew Weigman
         Investor Relations
         212 894 1023
         Jennifer Park
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