It was announced on Tuesday 4 September that British private equity firm Epiris has acquired Bonhams, the auctioneers of art, whisky, wine, motorcars and jewellery.

Bonhams' Headquarters in Bond Street, London. Architect: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, 2013 Bonhams' Headquarters in Bond Street, London. Architect: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, 2013

Epiris, based in London, specialises in buyout investments that target control positions in UK-centred businesses with an enterprise of up to £500 million.

The auction house has been up for sale, both privately and publicly, for several years.

Bonhams in London Bonhams Auction House, London

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and nor has there been any mention as to whether the deal includes Bonhams' central London real estate. Regardless, Bonhams CEO Matthew Girling says, “We are delighted to have found a buyer that recognises the potential offered by this business and its employees. During the last 20 years we have pursued a growth strategy that has turned the company into a truly global organisation.”

He adds, “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 serve wherever we operate.”

Bruno Vinciguerra has been tapped to join Girling and Bonhams' CFO Jonathan Fairhurst as the new Executive Chairman. According to Vinciguerra’s Linkedin profile, he has served for nearly nine years as COO at Sotheby’s New York.

Bonhams Auction House, London Bonhams Auction House, London

Bonhams, founded in 1793, holds more than 250 sales per year in locations throughout the world, including London, New York and Hong Kong. In 2017, the auction house sold items worth £450 million in its seven international salerooms.

Jewellery in particular plays an integral role to the business. Bonhams says it sells more jewellery lots per annum than any other international auction house. Jewellery reputedly makes up 40% of its total sales.

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