Noble Investments, owners of coin specialists Baldwin’s, have acquired The Fine Art Auction Group, owners of provincial auctioneers Dreweatts and rare books, manuscripts and contemporary works on paper specialists Bloomsbury Auctions.
The deal, which became effective on December
18, valued TFAAG at £5.48m, with just over £1m being paid upfront
in cash, while the remainder is a part-cash, part-share agreement
tied into a two-stage, performance-related earn-out deal over the
next two years.
TFAAG, through its 'Dreweatts' business
which dates back to 1759, provides fine arts, antiques, jewellery
and collectibles auctioneering and valuation services. Regular
programmes of auctions are held at its salerooms at Donnington
Priory, Bristol and Godalming as well as at other ad hoc UK
locations. Since June 2011 it has also been conducting auctions in
Mayfair following its acquisition of Bloomsbury Auctions.
Stephan Ludwig, director and executive
chairman of TFAAG, and Peter Floyd, company secretary and chief
financial officer, have joined the board of Noble, as executive
director and group finance director, respectively, with immediate
The structure of the deal makes it likely
that they will continue to be closely involved in the running of
the Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions businesses, at least until
the end of the earn-out period in 2014.
As Noble's managing director Ian Goldbart
pointed out, the acquisition brings four well-known names into the
"The combination of the Dreweatts,
Bloomsbury, Apex Philatelic and Baldwin's brands creates a
significant force in the auction market and dramatically expands
Noble's current product range and in-house team of specialists," he
"TFAAG's auctions comprise the key
disciplines of antique furniture, traditional and contemporary art,
jewellery, watches, silver, antiquarian books, ancient and modern
manuscripts, Asian and European ceramics and a comprehensive range
"The enlarged group, including our existing
overseas auctions in New York and Hong Kong, produced well over
£50m in hammer during 2012."
Mr Ludwig added: "Noble's acquisition
of Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions delivers a UK 'top 5'
generalist auctioneer as well as a market-leading presence in the
rare books and works on paper sector."
He sees the marriage as an opportunity to diversify, saying: "As
the only publicly listed auctioneer of fine art and collectables
[in the UK], Noble is well placed to exploit its market