Auctions Market News

Sotheby’s Q3 Loss Shrinks Versus 2014, Buoyed by Inventory Sales, Finance Unit

Sotheby's New York headquarters.COURTESY WIKIMEDIA

Sotheby’s New York headquarters.


Today, Sotheby’s released financial results for its third quarter, which ended September 20, 2015, reporting a net loss of $17.9 million, equal to 26 cents a share, which was an improvement over the $27.7 million, or 40 cents a share, it lost during the same quarter last year. That was good enough to just barely beat estimates. According to Bloomberg, analysts had expected a loss this quarter of about 28 cents per share.

Total revenue climbed to $138.0 million, up from $94.2 million reported for this same period last year.

In a news release, the auction house attributed its slightly improved financial results to “the completion of a number of profitable inventory sales” and its growing finance division, though growth in income was held back by lower revenues from auction commissions, traditionally any house’s bread and butter. (Skate’s, the art business intelligence unit of Artnews S.A., which owns this magazine, has more analysis of those trends.)

In a statement to press, Sotheby’s president and CEO Tad Smith, who joined the company in April, said: “We are proud of our auction sale results in the categories of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art, which are on track to achieve record levels for the year…In just three days last week, our auctions achieved $780 million, led by the first two sales from the collection of Sotheby’s former Chairman, Alfred Taubman. I’m pleased to say that we are also making good progress on our strategic objectives for future growth.”

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