Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, November 16, 1999 Published at 16:30 GMT

Business: The Company File

LVMH buys UK auction house

LVMH sees the internet auction market as a growth area

The French luxury goods group, LVMH, is to buy Phillips, the last of the big-three UK auction houses to fall under foreign control.

The 203-year-old art auctioneer is the world's third-largest auction house, with 21 sales rooms around the world, including New York, Zurich, Sydney and London.

Recent sales at Phillips include the love letters of the Earl of Essex to Queen Elizabeth I, and Claude Monet's painting of San Maggiore in Venice as well as some of the Thunderbird puppets.

Some reports suggest LVMH paid $129m for the company, but the conglomerate has declined to comment on the price.

Phillips conducted auction sales totalling 140m last year.

Phillips is the second UK auction house to be bought by a French company in recent years.

Web auction

Last year, French tycoon Francois Pinault, head of retailer Pinault-Printemps-Redoute bought Christie's for an estimated 721m.

Sotheby's is under US control, with an investment group led by Ronald Baron owning 41% of the company, while the chairman, Alfred Taubman, owns 26% of Sotheby's stock.

"In Phillips, we have a recognised brand with a strong growth heritage and significant potential for future growth, particularly in the context of the growing internet auction market," Daniel Piette, president of LV Capital said.

Many of the big auction houses now conduct some of their business on the web.

Christie's plans to offer online bidding for all its auctioned items from next year, while Sotheby's has a partnership with Amazon.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

The Company File Contents

Internet Links




The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Microsoft trial mediator welcomed

Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Christmas turkey strike vote

NatWest bid timetable frozen

France faces EU action over electricity

Pace enters US cable heartland

Mannesmann fights back

Storehouse splits up Mothercare and Bhs

The rapid rise of Vodafone

The hidden shopping bills

Europe's top net stock

Safeway faces cash demand probe

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

New factory creates 500 jobs

Drugs company announces 300 jobs

BT speeds internet access

ICL creates 1,000 UK jobs

National Power splits in two

NTT to slash workforce

Scoot links up with Vivendi

New freedom for Post Office

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Airtours profits jump 12%

Freeserve shares surge

LVMH buys UK auction house

Rover - a car firm's troubles