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Art Basel Buys 60% Stake in Hong Kong International Art Fair

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May 9 (Bloomberg) -- MCH Swiss Exhibition Group, the Swiss owner of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, will take a 60 percent stake in the company that controls Hong Kong International Art Fair, the fair’s director said today.

MCH, based in Basel, bought the stake in Asian Art Fairs Ltd., which owns ART HK, as the Hong Kong fair is known. The deal takes effect July 1, said Magnus Renfrew, the ART HK director. He didn’t provide financial details.

“Art Basel is an organization with unparalleled experience in putting on international art fairs,” Renfrew said. “This will give us incredible access to expertise and collectors, curators and the art world.”

China overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest auction market for fine art last year, according to research company Artprice, benefiting from the support of its government in Beijing.

ART HK, which was started in 2008, will be held May 26-29 and feature 260 galleries from 38 countries. Beginning next year, it will be moved to February to provide sufficient time between Art Basel Miami Beach in December and Art Basel in June, Renfrew said.

Editors: Michael Tighe, Stan James

To contact the writer on the story: Frederik Balfour in Hong Kong at fbalfour@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bret Okeson at bokeson@bloomberg.net; Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.