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Artemis rules out sale of Christie's

Paris, October 27, 2010

Artemis, the holding company owned by French billionaire Francois Pinault, said it was not interested in selling upmarket auction house Christie's, following reports that Qatar could be a buyer.

Last week Qatar's emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani told the Financial Times that he would be interested in bidding for the house, noting that the country was building a new museum that needed art.

"Following recent press articles, Artemis indicates that no sale process has been initiated regarding Christie's, the world's leading art business, which is one of its strategic assets," Artemis said in a statement.   

Qatar's ruling family are avid art collectors, and recently the country began construction of a new centre for islamic art designed by famous architect I.M. Pei.   

A banker familiar with the deal said the Qatari's had been looking at buying Christie's for "over a year" but that Pinault, himself an avid art collector and art patron, was not ready to sell.   

Pinault, who is 74 years old, built luxury goods company PPR into a luxury behemoth, taking on rival LVMH to buy Gucci in 2004. He bought Christie's in 1998 and recently invested in a palazzo in Venice to house his collection.   

His son, Francois-Henri Pinault, the current CEO of PPR, who stands to inherit the family fortune, is not as attached to the auction house, the banker said, and could be induced to sell.

Artemis owns 41 percent of PPR, as well as Chateau Latour vineyard and minority stakes in the Bouygues Group and Vinci. - Reuters




Tags: Qatar | Christies | Artemis | Pinault |

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