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Sotheby’s has initiated a consultation period in London, anticipating dozens of redundancies.


Approximately 50 employees in London are expected to be affected, with further layoffs anticipated in New York and other European locations.


Sotheby’s has not disclosed specific details regarding the restructuring, including the number of layoffs or the reasons behind them. A spokesperson for the auction house refuted rumors about selling the London headquarters, stating, "There are no plans to sell the building or leave New Bond Street."


"London remains our largest and most important center for sales, exhibitions, and talent in Europe, and our second-largest sales location globally," the spokesperson added.


During a recent staff meeting in London, employees were informed about the downsizing. According to one source, some director-level positions are being reviewed, and another source indicated that several art handler roles are also being eliminated.


Sotheby’s UK arm saw a 24% drop in profits from 2021 to 2022, decreasing from £34.5 million to £26.2 million, as per the latest filing on Companies House dated 19 July 2023. The filing cited Brexit and global instability as negative influences on the art market. At the time, a Sotheby’s spokesperson claimed that the data was "incomplete" and "based on a standalone entity which does not represent the financial view of our full global enterprise or even our UK business in aggregate."


The announcement follows Sotheby’s recent news that its lending arm, Sotheby’s Financial Services (SFS), plans to raise $700 million through an art-backed debt security offering, officially named Sotheby’s ArtFi Master Trust, Series 2024-1 Asset-Backed Notes. A Sotheby's representative stated that this securitization aims to further invest in SFS and is not related to the auction house's balance sheet or debts associated with its owner, French-Israeli telecoms billionaire Patrick Drahi, who has privately owned Sotheby’s since 2019.

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