Breaking news! Sotheby’s acquires 25 percent interest in RM Auctions

Art of the Automobile was an RM/Sotheby's joint venture auction in the fall of 2013 | RM photos by Darin Schnabel
Art of the Automobile was RM/Sotheby’s joint venture in the fall of 2013 | RM photos by Darin Schnabel

RM Auctions and Sotheby’s are moving from joint-venture to full partnership with Sotheby’s taking a 25 percent financial interest in the classic car auction house founded and led by Rob Myers.

Sotheby’s, established in England in 1744 and the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has an option to increase its ownership percentage in RM in the future.

Packed house at Sotheby's New York facilities for Art of the Automobile sale in 2013
Full house at Sotheby’s New York facilities for Art of the Automobile sale in 2013

In the meantime, RM events will be rebranded as RM Sotheby’s auctions, beginning with the upcoming sale March 14 on Florida’s Amelia Island.

Toronto-based RM and Sotheby’s have worked together in the past, most notably in the fall of 2013 when the Art of the Automobile auction at Sotheby’s New York City facilities produced nearly $63 million in sales within two hours. Even before the new partnership, they had announced another Art of the Automobile sale for the fall of 2015.

RM gives Sotheby’s entry into the growing classic car marketplace. Sotheby’s gives RM access to the wider world of collectors of art, jewelry, wine, etc.

“The partnership that has been formed between RM Auctions and Sotheby’s is undoubtedly the most effective way for us to reach the ever-growing worldwide audience of collectors who take a keen interest in the collector car asset class,” Rob Myers, chairman of RM Auctions, said in a news release.

“No other organization in the world has a client base as far-reaching as Sotheby’s and since we have worked so closely and successfully with them in the past, it makes perfect sense that we form a strategic partnership that creates a truly worldwide platform for collector cars. It’s an exciting time in our company history, and for the hobby at large.”

Will Ferraris become the new sought-after masterpieces by art collectors?
Will Ferraris become the new sought-after masterpieces by art collectors?

“Sotheby’s is thrilled to join the clear market leader in this field,” said Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby’s president, chairman and chief executive. “RM has established a formidable position that will only be strengthened by this new phase in our relationship.

“Just last year, RM set a new benchmark for a collector car auction with their flagship Monterey sale totaling more than $140 million, eclipsing the previous record they had established in 2013.  The incredible synergy between our businesses, including significant overlap of top collectors and a focus on new markets, will be further strengthened as we work together to expand the classic car collector base.”

“RM’s ownership of the high end of the market coupled with our global client network positions us for great success at a time when the market for investment-quality motor cars has never been stronger.”

The news release announcing the new partnership notes that, “This long-term investment comes as the more than $2 billion market for the finest automobiles continues to grow, presenting increasing opportunities for both companies.”

RM recently began its 36th year doing classic car auctions. It is based in Canada and has offices in California and Europe. Sotheby’s has 90 offices in 40 nations around the globe.

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