One bid remains for Drouot

Axa and Barclays have withdrawn from the bidding for the French art auction house as the prospect of a sale diminishes.

Lazard, the French banking group currently co-ordinating the sale of French auction house Hotel Drouot, has confirmed that only one bid remains on the table following the withdrawal of Axa Private Equity and Barclays Private Equity.

French daily Les Echos reports that indecision amongst the 110 Hotel Drouot auctioneers may be the reason for the withdrawal of the two bidders. The remaining bidder for the Parisian auction house is ABN Amro Capital.

Hotel Drouot’s auctioneers are due to meet early next week to vote on the proposed sale, although Les Echos reports that it seems unlikely that a majority of the auctioneers will sanction a disposal.

The original bid for Drouot came from Pierre Berge, former managing director of Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture, who initially tabled a E45.7m for the firm. Berge withdrew his offer following a reported E68m bid from Barclays PE. At the end of March, it was rumoured that ABN Amro had tabled a bid in excess of the Barclays PE offer, at around E82m.