Artnet Dodge Hostile Takeover Bid – artmarketblog.com
Following their controversial decision to ditch their online magazine, artnet have again hit the headlines after dodging a hostile takover bid from Luxembourg based Redline Management S.A. “The company is on a good path. We do not need investors who are solely interested in raising their profile and in profits, instead of art. artnet will achieve worldwide success on its own!” said artnet founder Hans Neuendorf regarding the takevoer bid.
Redline announced a voluntary takeover offer for artnet on the 23rd of July with a view to “transform artnet into a leading international art information and e-commerce platform and to clearly increase shareholder value.” According to Redline, artnet “is currently suffering from a chronic lack of capital, declining investors’ confidence, management deficiencies and poor profitability.” When the takeover bid was announced, Redline held 10.07 per cent of the voting rights and 9.93 per cent of shares in artnet together with Weng Fine Art AG, Krefeld, via a voting agreement.
It appears, however, that the voluntary takeover bid by Redline and Weng Fine Art AG did not go to plan with proposed board member changes blocked by artnet followed by a refusal to accept the takeover bid. After 13 hours and heated discussions between management and shareholder groups Berlin, Redline claims that “artnet management refused all offers to cooperate with other shareholders at the shareholders’ meeting and will now be confronted with a wave of legal proceedings at the expense of the company.”
Interestingly, Redline claim that one of the initiators of the artnet investment was Sergey Skaterschikovn, a member of Redline Capital Management S.A.’s board and a recognised art industry expert who authored Skate’s Art Investment Handbook and has completed a number of successful investments in the art field.
Weng Fine Art AG is one of the five leading German art dealing companies. Since 1994, the team under Rüdiger K. Weng has sold more than 15,000 paintings, sculptures, works on paper as well as prints from over 800 well known international artists of the 20th century. The company uses a B2B model, focusing on trading more than 500 blue chip artists from the 20th century. A press release on their website dated the 29th of May announced the acquisition by the company of a 4 % ownership interest in Artnet AG.
Also on the 29th of May, Redline Capital Management S.A., a CSSF (Luxembourg financial markets authority) regulated asset management firm, filed with German authorities the mandatory disclosure related to a purchase of over 5% ownership interest in artnet AG.
**Nicholas Forrest is a Sydney/London based art market analyst, art consultant and writer. He is the founder of the Art Market Blog (artmarketblog.com) which offers independent commentaries as well as research and analysis on the current art market, and has recently been published in Fabrik magazine, Verve magazine, Visual Art Beat magazine, Australian Art Collector magazine, Art & Investment magazine and many others. Nic has made several radio appearances (both nationally and internationally) as an art market expert and has received press from the likes of the New York Times, Conde Nast Portfolio and Times of London.
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