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Bonhams Expands in Australia With Acquisition of Joel’s

Bonhams’ Australian affiliate, Bonhams & Goodman, has continued its aggressive expansion with the purchase of Leonard Joel, once Australia’s most dominant art auction house.

SYDNEY—Bonhams’ Australian affiliate, Bonhams & Goodman, has continued its aggressive expansion with the purchase of Leonard Joel, once Australia’s most dominant art auction house. The price for the purchase, which will be financed by loans, was not disclosed.

Bonhams & Goodman chairman Tim Goodman said that the deal will add about A$10 million ($9.5 million) in turnover to the group, bringing the company’s total turnover to about A$50 million ($47.7 million) a year.

During the 1960s and ’70s, Joel’s held yearly art sales at the Malvern Town Hall in Melbourne, and was the leader in auction volume and record prices for Australian paintings. However, Joel’s lost its lead in the Australian painting market to multinationals Christie’s and Sotheby’s and, in the late ’90s, to a new local competitor, Deutscher-Menzies.

Bonhams is hoping to snap up some of the territory vacated two years ago when Christie’s stopped holding auctions in Australia in order to focus on developing markets such as Dubai.

Goodman said the purchase would give Bonhams & Goodman more depth and breadth in its sale offerings. Warren Joel, grandson of Leonard Joel, who founded the company in 1919, will remain as CEO under contract.

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