Online Auctioneer Lauritz.com Buys Stockholms Auktionsverk
The world's oldest auction house is set to get some new blood.
The world’s oldest auction house, Stockholms Auktionsverk announced on Tuesday that it has been acquired by Scandinavia’s largest online auction house, Lauritz.com. The exact purchase price for the house remains a secret. However, reports suggest that it was between SEK 100–300 million ($14–42 million).
Stockholms Auktionsverk has been in continuous operation in the Swedish capital since 1674 and was privatized in 1993. Until going fully digital in 2000, Lauritz.com was formerly known as Lauritz Christensen Auktioner, a brick-and-mortar auction house founded in 1885 in Denmark. The company’s current chairman, Bengt Sundstrøm purchased it in 1998 and began online auctions the following year.
Under the agreement, both companies will continue to operate more or less as distinct brands but will share resources, experts, and stock. The first stage of that collaboration will see all of Stockholms Auktionsverk’s lots from their online auctions department, called Magasin 5, rolled into Lauritz.com’s offer.
“Collaboration with Stockholms Auktionsverk is a natural choice and a great benefit to both parties,” Sundstrøm writes in a statement announcing the collaboration. “We see an enormous potential in developing the common customer base further with room for all types of people, just like we look forward to commencing an inspiring collaboration between all our passionate specialists.”
Stockholms Auktionsverk chairman and majority shareholder Peter Alarik is equally enthusiastic about the acquisition, “I felt straightaway that Lauritz.com and Stockholms Auktionsverk could be the perfect match,” he writes. Particularly important to the house was its ability to continue under the longstanding Stockholms Auktionsverk brand while collaborating on sourcing and selling lots to the Swedish, Scandinavian, and international public. “I’m approaching 70 and have been Chairman of the Board for 21 years,” Alarik adds. “It feels like time is ripe to bring fresh blood into the company.”
Alarik’s house, which had an estimated turnover of €50 million in 2013, will continue to be run by current managing director Niclas Forsman, who expresses his excitement and readiness “for a big expansion of our online auctions,” in a statement. Through the acquisition, Stockholms Auktionsverk will have access to Lauritz.com’s 1.2 million registered users, which generated €117 million in revenue during 2013. Whether Lauritz will pull some of its higher-end stock out of the Web and back onto the auction floor remains to be seen.
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