Epiris announced that Epiris Fund II, advised by Epiris LLP, has agreed the acquisition of auction giant Bonhams from private shareholders. Financial terms are not being disclosed.
Founded in 1793, Bonhams is one of the world’s largest and most renowned auctioneers of automobiles, fine art and antiques, and jewelry. The business holds more than 250 sales a year at its flagship salesrooms, which include London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. In 2017, Bonhams sold more than 50,000 lots, generating over £450 million of hammer sales.
The company is led by CEO Matthew Girling and CFO Jonathan Fairhurst who will be joined by Bruno Vinciguerra as Executive Chairman. Bruno served for eight years as COO at Sotheby’s, and before that held senior roles at Bain, Dell and Disney.
Matthew Girling, CEO of Bonhams, said:
“We are delighted to have found a buyer that recognizes the potential offered by this business and its employees. Bonhams is one of the world’s oldest auctioneers – and one of the most ambitious. During the past 20 years we have pursued a growth strategy that has turned the company into a truly global organization. The value of Bonhams rests with its people, their skills, their extraordinary expertise and their strong networks across the world. Epiris has a demonstrable and successful track record in investment in growing brands and we believe that together we can continue to expand the business whilst still offering the highest possible level of service wherever we operate.”
Bruno Vinciguerra, incoming Executive Chairman of Bonhams, said:
“Bonhams is a business with great potential and a strong track record. I greatly look forward to working with the team to help deliver the next stage of growth.”
Bonhams traces its history from 1793, when it was founded in London’s Covent Garden by Thomas Dodd, a famous print dealer of the day. Dodd’s apprentice, George Jones, assumed ownership in 1817 and in 1850s went into partnership with George Bonham. During the 1870s, the Bonham family became the sole owner.
In 2000, Bonhams became Bonhams & Brooks, after its acquisition by the auction house Brooks, founded in 1989 by a former director of Christie’s, Robert Brooks. The following year Bonhams & Brooks merged with Phillips Son & Neale to form a new company, Bonhams.
In 2002 Bonhams purchased Butterfields, a leading auction house on the west coast of the US, founded in 1865.
Bonhams’ recent annual Carmel, Calif., auction, held at Quail Lodge generated a total of $37.7 million.