U.K. Buyout Firm Epiris Agrees to Acquire Bonhams Auction House

(Bloomberg) -- Private equity firm Epiris LLP agreed to buy Bonhams, a 225-year-old auction house, for an undisclosed amount.

“Bonhams is a global business operating in a market with long-term structural growth and high barriers to entry,” Owen Wilson, an Epiris partner, said Tuesday in a statement. “It is a platform with extensive scope for transformation through investment.”

U.K. Buyout Firm Epiris Agrees to Acquire Bonhams Auction House

A smaller rival to Sotheby’s and Christie’s, U.K.-based Bonhams sells art, automobiles and jewelry. In 2017, it held about 250 events in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, and generated more than 450 million pounds ($577 million) in total auction sales, excluding commissions.

London-based Epiris targets companies valued at 75 million pounds to 500 million pounds and has raised two funds, according to its website. Its first fund invested about 1 billion pounds in buyouts and loan-to-own debt deals since 2011, including TGI Fridays restaurants. The second fund, which is making the Bonhams acquisition, has also invested in Time Inc. U.K.

Bonhams Chief Executive Officer Matthew Girling and Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Fairhurst will remain with the firm, while Bruno Vinciguerra, former chief operating officer of Sotheby’s, will join as executive chairman, according to the memo.

Lazard and Ropes & Gray LLP advised Epiris on the sale, while Rothschild & Co. and Macfarlanes LLP were Bonhams’s advisers.

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