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Epiris acquires auction house Bonhams

Private equity firm Epiris has acquired auction house Bonhams, known for its sales of cars, jewellery and rare whiskies, for an undisclosed amount.

Bonhams has been acquired by a private equity firm

Bonhams is headed by CEO Matthew Girling and CFO Jonathan Fairhurst, who will be joined by Bruno Vincinguerra as executive chairman. Vinciguerra worked for eight years as COO at fellow auctioneer Sotheby’s, and previously held senior positions at Bain, Dell and Disney.

The acquisition is being led for Epiris by Alex Fortescue, Owen Wilson and Bavya Makani, and is scheduled to be completed by mid-September.

Established in 1793, Bonhams holds more than 250 auctions a year at its flagship salesrooms, including London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

Bonhams held its first whisky sale in 2008. Last year, the auction house reported its “most successful year ever” for whisky, with sales totalling £919,000.

Matthew Girling, CEO of Bonhams, said: “Bonhams is one of the world’s oldest auctioneers – and one of the most ambitious.

“During the past 20 years we have pursued a growth strategy that has turned the company into a truly global organisation.

“The value of Bonhams rests with its people, their skills, their extraordinary expertise and their strong networks across the world.

“Epiris has a demonstrable and successful track record in investment in growing brands and we believe that together we can continue to expand the business whilst still offering the highest possible level of service wherever we operate.”

Last month, a new world record was set for the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky sold at auction after a 50-year-old Yamazaki fetched HK$2,695,000 (US$343,318) at a Bonhams Whisky Sale in Hong Kong.

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