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Sotheby's acquired by telecom mogul for $3.7 billion

Auction house Sotheby's is going private after Patrick Drahi, a billionaire telecommunications executive and art collector, offered $3.7 billion for the 250-year-old auction house.

BidFair USA, an entity wholly owned by Drahi, will pay $57 per share for Sotheby's, which is a 61% premium to the company's closing stock price on Friday. Drahi, 54, founded Altice, a broadband provider that operates Cablevision and Cequel, in 2001.

"Sotheby's is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world," Drahi said in a statement, adding that he was a longtime client of the company.

Sotheby's CEO Tad Smith said that the deal would let the company flourish "in a more flexible private environment," according to a written statement.

The New York company, which was founded in London in 1744, presents auctions in 10 salesrooms worldwide. Last year the company's net income totaled $108.6 million, or $2.09 per share, on revenue of $1.04 billion. Adjusted profit totaled $128.9 million, or $2.48 per share.

Sotheby's has traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange for 31 years. Shares of the companys jumped $20.39, or 57.6%, to $55.78 in Monday morning trading. Before Monday the stock was down 11% in the year to date.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. It's subject to shareholder approval and regulatory clearance.