Art Basel Completes Hong Kong Art Fair Buy-Out
At long last, Art Basel has full ownership of its Hong Kong edition, with parent company MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd. having finally acquired the remaining 40 percent of shares in Asian Art Fairs Limited in Hong Kong.
Art Basel’s purchase of Asian Art Fairs was first announced on July 1, 2011. At that time, MCH Group picked up 60 percent of the company’s shares, with the option of enacting a complete buyout in 2014.
As of last Friday, MCH has exercised that option, and now owns the Asian company in its entirety. As part of the terms of the sale, the purchase price and related contract details will not be released by either party.
Asian Art Fair formerly ran the annual ArtHK Hong Kong International Art Fair, which debuted in 2008. In 2012, following the sale to MCH Group, the fair was moved from May to February to avoid competing with Art Basel. In 2013, it was rebranded as Art Basel in Hong Kong, completing its transformation into the burgeoning Asian branch of the Art Basel empire, which includes the original Swiss summertime edition and the Miami Beach December stalwart.
The original owners of Asian Art Fairs are Tim Etchells, Sandy Angus of Montgomery Worldwide, and Will Ramsay of Ramsay Fairs. Etchells and Angus repotedly have plans to launch a new Hong Kong art event, Art Central, next March (see “ArtHK Founders to Launch Rival Fair to Art Basel in Hong Kong“).
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