Bonhams Adds Danish Auctioneer Bruun Rasmussen to Its Rapidly Expanding Network, Its Third Acquisition in as Many Months

The London-based auctioneer is looking to strengthen its position as a global player in the market.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Auctioneer Sholto Gilbertson at the Tusk Lion Trail Auction 2021 at Bonhams on November 09, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Tusk Trust)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Auctioneer Sholto Gilbertson at the Tusk Lion Trail Auction 2021 at Bonhams on November 09, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Tusk Trust)

As part of its consolidation of control in the middle market, Bonhams today announced it has acquired the family-run Danish auctioneers Bruun Rasmussen for an undisclosed sum. It is the third competitor the London-based auction house has bought since the beginning of this year.

Today’s announcement came just a week after the acquisition of the Boston-based auction house Skinner, which was subsequently renamed Bonhams Skinner. In January, Bonhams also bought the Swedish auction house Bukowskis. “Our strategy is to bring a thriving regional business to the global marketplace through Bonhams’ international network,” said Bonhams CEO Bruno Vinciguerra.

“The addition of Bruun Rasmussen will enhance Bonhams’ European scale and increase digital capabilities to support further outreach across the Bonhams network. We are delighted to welcome Bruun Rasmussen to our growing family.”

Jesper Bruun Rasmussen. Courtesy of Bonhams and Bruun Rasmussen.

Jesper Bruun Rasmussen. Courtesy of Bonhams and Bruun Rasmussen.

Founded in Copenhagen in 1948 by Arne Bruun Rasmussen, the Danish auction house is headquartered in the Nordhavn district of the capital city. It sells around 75,000 lots each year, ranging from art and furniture to other collectibles, such as wine, books, arms, and armors, in its salesrooms as well as online. The auction house has been featured in Danish broadcaster DR’s documentary series Auktionshuset, which follows the art-selling adventures of Jesper Bruun Rasmussen, the firm’s current chair who inherited the hammer from his father Arne in 1985.

“I have just brought down the hammer on the largest and most important sale in the history of Bruun Ramussen Auctioneers,” Jesper Bruun Rasmussen said in a statement.

After leading the auction house for nearly four decades, Rasmussen will become chairman emeritus after the sale, while Jakob Dupont will remains as CEO. The third generation of Rasmussen auctioneers, Jesper’s children Alexa and Frederik, will also remain active in the company.

Bonhams’ buying spree is the result of a long-term strategy that has been in place since the London-based equity firm Epiris acquired the company in 2018, the auction house said. The goal, Vinciguerra said, was to strengthen the auctioneer’s position as a global player in the middle market, with a “balanced presence across the U.S., Europe and Asia.”

Bonhams already holds sales in Hong Kong and has regional offices in Shanghai and Singapore, but it declined to comment on whether it has any plans to acquire other auction houses of a similar scale in Asia.

 


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