Top Auction House Phillips de Pury bought by Russian luxury retail company Mercury Group

October 7th, 2008

Simon de Pury
Simon de Pury, Chairman and Co-Founder of Phillips de Pury, via Getty Images

Phillips de Pury, a pre-eminent auction house with a strong contemporary art and photography focus, has been bought by Mercury Group, a Russian luxury retail group that owns top shelf department stores selling Gucci, Prada, Ferrari, Maserati, Rolex and other high end names.

Phillips was acquired in 1999 by Bernard Arnault who is the chairman of Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessey. Following that acquisition by Arnault, Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg, both art dealers, ran the auction house then called Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg. In March 2004 Simon de Pury acquired majority control of the firm which was then renamed Phillips de Pury.

Coincidentally, the acquiring firm Mercury Group, headed 41 year old self made billionarie and tobacco tycoon Igor Kesaev, owns the shopping center that was the site of Sotheby’s preview of contemproary art, as reported by AO in April. Simon de Pury will stay at the helm of the company as Chairman, and will remain an important shareholder. According to de Pury, who was quoted in the company’s press release, the ‘strategic partnership’ with Mercury will “allow us to provide a unique platform to new and fast growing markets.”

Press Release: Phillips de Pury announces partnership with Mercury Group
Russian Group Buys Auction House
[NYTimes]
Russian Luxury Retailer Acquires Phillips
[ArtInfo]
Russia’s Mercury Group Buys London Art Company Phillips de Pury
[Bloomberg]
Phillips de Pury sold to Russian group
[Financial Times]
Phillips auction house is sold
[Wall Street Journal]
Phillips de Pury hopes takeover will secure future sales
[DesignWeek]
Newslinks for Wednesday, September 24, as summer’s China-focused news comes to an end, Autumn news centers on Russia [AO]


Bernard Arnault via Time

de Pury continues: “Russia has clearly emerged as an important art market and there is no doubt that my vision for the company and Mercury Group’s vision are aligned. This is a fantastic opportunity for the global reach of Phillips de Pury & Company to become even stronger. We now look forward to the future with a significantly enhanced capital base and exciting growth prospects.”