Court Dismisses Caravaggio Claim Against Sotheby's
Jan 16 15
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has successfully defended a negligence claim brought against Sotheby's in which the auction house was accused of failing to notice that a work of art could have been painted by the Italian artist Caravaggio. The painting, depicting the same scene as Caravaggio's 'The Cardsharps', was sold by claimant Lancelot Thwaytes through Sotheby's for the sum of £42,000 plus buyer's commission. It was later claimed that the painting was an autograph replica of 'The Cardsharps' by the painter himself - although this has not been confirmed. Mrs. Justice Rose dismissed Thwaytes' claim. In the judgment issued 16 January 2015, she said that the painting probably would have made slightly more at auction or by private treaty if it had been sold with a catalogue entry, but not a great deal more.
Sotheby's Announces William F. Ruprecht to Step Down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Nov 22 14
The chairman and chief executive of Sotheby's is stepping down. The company said that the departure of the executive, William F. Ruprecht, was 'by mutual consent' and that he would remain in his job until his successor was found. Mr. Ruprecht, a longtime executive of the auction house and its chief for the last 14 years. Mr. Ruprecht, who joined Sotheby's in 1980, has worn many hats at the auction house. He has been an expert in its rug department, a director of marketing and a managing director. When he became chief executive in 2000.
Sotheby's Announces Unaudited Consolidated Earnings Results for the Third Quarter and First Nine Months Ended 30 September 2014; Provides Effective Income Tax Rate Guidance for the Year 2014
Nov 10 14
Sotheby's announced unaudited consolidated earnings results for the third quarter and first nine months ended 30 September 2014. For the quarter, the company reported total revenues were $94,201,000 against $107,864,000 a year ago. Operating loss was $37,469,000 against $34,361,000 a year ago. Loss before taxes was $44,167,000 against $41,860,000 a year ago. Net loss was $27,698,000 against $30,131,000 a year ago. Net loss attributable to company was $27,726,000 against $30,131,000 a year ago. Basic and diluted loss per share was $0.40 against $0.44 a year ago. Adjusted pre-tax loss was $34,051,000 against $41,860,000 a year ago, principally due to a lower level of expenses, largely attributable to management's continued cost reduction initiatives. The third quarter is always a slow quarter at Sotheby's due to the seasonality of the global art auction business. On an after-tax basis, the company’s third quarter results improved by $2.4 million (8%) as a result of a higher income tax benefit recorded in the quarter due to an increase in Sotheby's annual effective income tax rate. For the third quarter, adjusted net loss is $20.6 million and adjusted loss per share is $0.30. The adjusted net income numbers exclude restructuring and special charges.
For the nine months, the company reported total revenues were $586,829,000 against $514,477,000 a year ago. Operating income was $97,053,000 against $77,640,000 a year ago. Income before taxes was $72,874,000 against $48,847,000 a year ago. Net income was $44,052,000 against $39,253,000 a year ago. Net loss attributable to company was $43,792,000 against $39,253,000 a year ago. Diluted earnings per share were $0.61 against $0.57 a year ago. Adjusted pre-tax income was $107,247,000 against $48,847,000 a year ago. The company achieved a 120% increase in adjusted pre-tax income and a 49% increase in pre-tax income for the nine months ended September 30, 2014. This improvement is principally due to the performance of the Agency segment, which reported an increase in gross profit of $48.9 million (12%) for the period. On an after-tax basis, company’s year-to-date results improved $4.5 million (12%), as the improvement in pre-tax income was partially offset by an increase in Sotheby's effective income tax rate. Adjusted net income was $64.3 million, and adjusted diluted EPS is $0.91, in comparison to $39.3 million or 0.57 per diluted share a year ago.
Management estimates that Sotheby's annual effective income tax rate for 2014, excluding discrete items, will be approximately 38%. In 2013, Sotheby's annual effective income tax rate, excluding discrete items, was approximately 30%.