For the moment, Barclays Private Equity is to go it alone in the bid for Drouot, France’s leading auction house. The firm has turned down an offer of joint investment from Pierre Bergé, the business partner of Yves Saint- Laurent.
His offer, of an undisclosed amount, was refused over the telephone, reports the Financial Times.
Both parties are looking to acquire the country’s main auction business, which contains more than 70 firms of auctioneers and last year recorded E69m in sales. The house came up for sale following the liberalisation of the profession late last year.
Bergé made clear his ambitions for the purchase earlier this month, after he left the world of couture design. However he has yet to disclose a bid for the central property. It is understood Barclays is proposing a leveraged buyout, but not at the E150m offer reported in the French press.