LVMH Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the luxury goods conglomerate that owns Dom Pirignon and Veuve Clicquot, has acquired Phillips International Auctioneers, a fine-art auction house with headquarters in New York and London. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Phillips, founded in 1796, is one of the largest auction houses in the world today, with 21 salesrooms and hammer sales totaling more than $227 million in 1999. The company holds more than 800 auctions annually, with specialties in subjects ranging from Old Master paintings to sports memorabilia to fine wines. The house holds four wine auctions per year in New York -- bringing in about $4 million -- and three or four wine auctions annually in London.
LV Capital, the development-capital arm of LVMH, bought Phillips from 3i, a European venture capital company that acquired a majority stake in the auction house in January 1998 and helped it expand. "In Phillips, we have a recognized brand with a strong heritage and significant potential for future growth, particularly in the context of the growing Internet auction market," said Daniel Piette, president of LV Capital.
LVMH's holdings -- which are concentrated in fashion, leather goods, perfumes, cosmetics and wines and spirits -- include Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Krug and Pommery Champagnes, as well as Hennessy Cognac. "LVMH is renowned for developing and managing premium global brands," said Chris Thompson, chief executive of Phillips. "Together, we will be able to accelerate our plans to establish Phillips as a truly world-class auction house and to exploit the opportunities presented by the Internet."
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