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Last $34.09 USD
Change Today +0.09 / 0.26%
Volume 1.3M
BID On Other Exchanges
As of 8:04 PM 10/9/15 All times are local (Market data is delayed by at least 15 minutes).
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Company Description

Contact Info

1334 York Avenue

New York, NY 10021

United States

Phone: 212-606-7000

Fax: 212-606-7107

Sotheby’s operates as an auctioneer of authenticated fine art, decorative art, and jewelry in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, Switzerland, and internationally. Segments The company operates through three segments: Agency, Principal, and Finance. Agency segment The Agency segment accepts property on consignment, stimulates buyer interest through professional marketing techniques, and matches sellers (also known as consignors) to buyers through the auction or private sale process. Prior to offering a work of art for sale, the company’s specialists perform significant due diligence activities to authenticate and determine the ownership history of the property being sold. Seasonality: The company’s financial results are seasonal, with peak revenues and operating income generally occurring in the second and fourth quarters. Consequently, first and third quarter results have historically reflected lower revenues when compared to the second and fourth quarters. Competition: The company's primary competitor in the global art market is Christie’s International, PLC (Christie's), a privately held, French-owned, auction house. The company also faces competition from smaller auction houses, such as Bonhams and Phillips, as well as regional auction houses and art dealers across all collecting categories. In the Chinese art market, the company also competes with Beijing Poly International Auction Co. Ltd.; China Guardian Auctions Co. Ltd.; and Beijing Hanhai Auction Co. Ltd. Principal segment The Principal segment includes the sale of artworks that have been purchased opportunistically by the company, including property acquired for sale at auction in the near term in lieu of the Agency segment providing an auction guarantee to a potential consignor. To a lesser extent, the activities of the Principal segment also include retail wine sales and the activities of Acquavella Modern Art (AMA), an equity investee. Also, under certain circumstances, the Principal segment provides secured loans to certain art dealers to finance the purchase of works of art. In these situations, the company acquires a partial ownership interest in the purchased property in addition to providing the loan. Upon its eventual sale, the loan is repaid and any profit or loss is shared by the company and the art dealer according to their respective ownership interests. The Principal segment also holds the remaining inventory of Noortman Master Paintings (or NMP), an art dealer. Markets: The activities of the Principal segment are conducted in the same markets as the Agency segment. Finance segment The Finance segment provides certain collectors and art dealers with financing secured by works of art that the company either has in its possession or permits borrowers to possess. The Finance segment generally makes two types of secured loans: advances secured by consigned property where the borrowers are contractually committed, in the near term, to sell the property through the Agency segment of the company (a consignor advance); and general purpose term loans secured by property not presently intended for sale (a term loan). Brand Licensing Activities Prior to 2004, Sotheby’s engaged in the marketing and brokerage of luxury residential real estate sales through Sotheby’s International Realty (SIR). In 2004, the company sold Sotheby’s International Realty (SIR) to a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation (Realogy). In conjunction with the sale, the company entered into an agreement with Realogy to license the SIR trademark and certain related trademarks for an initial 50-year term with a 50-year renewal option. The Realogy License Agreement is applicable worldwide. The Realogy License Agreement provides for an ongoing license fee during its term based on the volume of commerce transacted under the licensed trademarks. The Sotheby’s name is also licensed for use in connection with the art auction business in Australia, art education services in the U.S. and the United Kingdom (U.K.), and print management services. History Sotheby's was founded in 1744.


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