Hedge funds that invest directly in art are sort of old hat by now, but here's something a little different: investment firm Index Atlas is looking to raise a modest $50 million PE fund specifically targeting the broader art industry, including auction houses and media firms. The announcement acknowledges that the art market is challenged right nowcheck out the 1-year chart of Sotheby's stockbut that it's looking to "bring increased transparency to art investing and to support development and expansion of lasting institutions that will serve the art world and the greater alternative investment market as a whole." By alternative investment market, it might be referring to stuff like wine investing.
With just $50 million, who knows how much media investing they'll end up doing. Certainly this hasn't been a particularly hot areaDeviantArt is one start-up that comes to mind as having been funded. Release. (via TechConfidential)
-- Speaking of the traditional auction industry, Reuters reported yesterday that eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) would discontinue a service it ran that allowed users to participate in live auctions at real-world auctions houses. Perhaps for high art, online bidding can't compete with the stuffy tension of a live auction house.
By Joseph Weisenthal