Published: July 24, 2001
LONDON, ENGLAND – LVMH, the luxury products group, and the Bonhams & Brooks auction house have announced the combination of the main UK operations of Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg – including its Bond Street and Bayswater auction rooms and its extensive UK regional network – with the existing businesses of Bonhams & Brooks.
This joint venture will create a new competitive force in the UK auction market with initial hammer sales of over £150 million.
The newly created company will trade under the name of Bonhams and will operate as an entirely separate entity from Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg. The latter will continue to focus, from its New York and Grosvenor Street, London, headquarters and through its European network, on the high end of the auction market in Impressionist and Modern Art, Contemporary Art, Old Masters Paintings, Jewelry and Watches, Twentieth Century Decorative Arts and Furniture.
The new company’s chairman will be Robert Brooks, current chairman of Bonhams & Brooks. The shareholders will be Louwman Brooks, the holding company which owns Bonham & Brooks, with slightly more than 50 percent and LVMH Art Investments, which will hold slightly less than 50 percent of the capital of the joint venture.
Lord Powell of Bayswater, chairman of LVMH (UK) said, “This move enables these two key UK auction houses to pool their considerable expertise to emerge as a more effective force in a traditionally profitable sector of the UK market.”
Simon de Pury, chairman of Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, continued, “[The venture] enables Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg really to focus on the high end of the market in its chosen areas of specialisation; the merger of our UK operations with those of Bonhams & Brooks serves to enhance their market positions.”
Christopher Thomas, CEO (UK) of Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, added, “This is the ideal opportunity for Phillips to consolidate its position in the UK and Bonhams & Brooks is exactly the right partner for this new stage of development.”
Phillips Auctioneers, founded in 1796 by Harry Phillips, was selling some of the most important collections in Europe in the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, including Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Owned since 1999 by LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton, Phillips merged with du Pury & Luxembourg Art in 2001. Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg has major headquarters in both London and New York. The auction house also maintains salesrooms throughout the United Kingdom and in the United States, Switzerland and Australia, and the offices and representatives in over 15 countries around the world.
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the four surviving Georgian auction houses in London and the only one to remain under family ownership. It was established by Thomas Dodd, a renowned antique print dealer, and a book specialist, Walter Bonham. In the 1850s the firm expanded to represent all areas of antiques including jewelry, porcelain, furniture, arms and armor, and fine wines.
In the early 1950s a magnificent plot of land in Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, was acquired by the Bonham family and purpose-built as a salesroom. Sales and departments grew rapidly to create more specialist auctions and by 1960 a new salesroom on Lots Road, Chelsea was set up to house this expanding market.
In 2000, Bonhams merged with another London-based family firm – Brooks – specialists in the sale of vintage cars. Robert Brooks and Nick Bonham are now respectively chairman and deputy chairman of the enlarged operation. Their fathers had worked together at Bonhams in the 1950s.
Connaissance des Arts and Art and Auction Magazine are also part of the LVMH Group. LVMH shares (LVMH.PA) are listed on the Paris Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in the United States (LVMHY).
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