Issue #244  9/25/2018
Bonhams Auction House Sold to Private Equity Firm

By Alex Novak

Bonhams new headquarters in London.
Bonhams new headquarters in London.

Epiris, a private equity firm based in London, has bought 225-year-old auction house, Bonhams. Terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed.

We have been reporting on the potential sale of Bonhams for quite some time, mostly recently at the end of May when we noted that it was up for sale again. Four years earlier we reported on the near-sale to Chinese company, Poly Group, which apparently was rejected by the Bonhams' board then.

Bonhams has been active in the photography area, holding such auctions in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, although it also has offices in Hong Kong Edinburgh, Paris and Sydney. It is one of the largest auctioneers of fine arts, antiques, wine and spirits, automobiles and jewelry. Last year Bonhams sold more than 50,000 lots, generating more than £450 million ($578.2 million) of hammer sales.

Bonhams' CEO Matthew Girling and CFO Jonathan Fairhurst will remain on board in their current positions, while former Sotheby’s chief operating officer Bruno Vinciguerra will join the boardroom as executive chairman.

Epiris, based in London, specializes in buyout investments that target control positions in U.K.-based businesses with an enterprise value of up to £500 million.