In July we wrote about Auction Technology Group’s proposed acquisition of Live Auctioneers and on 29 September ATG has further announced the transaction is to complete subject to final approvals required to proceed. Live Auctioneers is currently owned by Cove Hill Partners, a Boston-based, long-term oriented private equity firm that invests in consumer internet and technology businesses.
The massive shift from fixed prices to auctioned outcomes has made Live Auctioneers an important company in the shifting market. As the cast of the players become ever clearer, ATG, is expected to be a major factor in online auctions.
Here is the recent news release.
Transaction will enable thousands of auction houses who run their sales through LiveAuctioneers to list on ATG’s existing art & antiques marketplaces in Europe
NEW YORK - LiveAuctioneers, one of North America’s favorite destinations for fine and decorative arts, antiques and luxury goods, is pleased to announce its acquisition by Auction Technology Group plc (LON:ATG). Following the receipt of final approvals required in order to proceed, ATG expects to complete the acquisition shortly. LiveAuctioneers is currently owned by Cove Hill Partners, a Boston-based, long-term oriented private equity firm that invests in consumer internet and technology businesses.
ATG’s mission is to be a trusted partner to the auction industry as it continues its structural shift to online, driving the appeal of secondhand items and accelerating the growth of the circular economy. The acquisition of LiveAuctioneers demonstrates ATG’s commitment to helping auctioneers build their businesses and compete with global e-commerce giants by enabling them to reach a global pool of bidders, while also providing bidders with access to millions of unique and specialized items.
This transaction will enhance the enlarged group’s offering to auctioneers and bidders across the world. It will enable the thousands of auction houses that run their auctions on LiveAuctioneers to benefit from the ability to list their auctions on ATG’s existing marketplaces and reach a wider audience of buyers of fine art and antiques in the UK and EU. ATG’s existing auctioneer clients will have the option to list on LiveAuctioneers, reaching bidders in North America who annually win more than one million items on LiveAuctioneers.com. The acquisition will also enable ATG to integrate LiveAuctioneers’ easy-to-use payments solution across its global business, significantly simplifying this process for auctioneers and enhancing the buying experience for winners.
Under Cove Hill Partners’ ownership, LiveAuctioneers has seen significant growth in recent years, receiving more than 56 million bidder sessions in 2020. The acquisition will bring an estimated 1,600 auctioneers and 120,000 bidders to ATG’s network, as well as 27,000 auctions per year and 1.3 million lots sold. It will also give the company access to the US art & antiques market – a segment that is twice the size of that of the UK. ATG already has a growing presence in the North American auction industry, selling high-value construction and farm equipment on its online marketplace, Proxibid, and food & beverage plus heavy industrial, metal, and woodworking equipment through its BidSpotter marketplace, as well as providing best-in-class white label services through its subsidiary Auction Mobility.
LiveAuctioneers will continue to operate with its headquarters in New York City and be led by CEO Phil Michaelson. ATG’s existing art and antiques marketplaces are thesaleroom.com, which was founded by ATG in 2006, and German fine art and antiques marketplace lot-tissimo.com, which was acquired by ATG in 2018. The Group also operates four marketplaces in the industrial and commercial sector.
Phil Michaelson, CEO of LiveAuctioneers, commented:
“Auctioneers and their consignors should be delighted. As part of Auction Technology Group, LiveAuctioneers’ partners will extend their reach to ATG’s formidable network of bidders from 150 countries around the world. Also, LiveAuctioneers will be investing more deeply into making the end-to-end bidder experience at auctions more seamless. This will help small business owners realize the full value of the art and antique items being auctioned and broaden the appeal of live-streamed online auctions as the best path to buy and sell previously owned goods. Together, LiveAuctioneers and ATG team members will help auctioneers to give new life to millions of one-of-a-kind items annually in the categories of art, furniture, home decor, jewelry, and more.”
John-Paul Savant, CEO of ATG, commented:
“We are incredibly excited to welcome LiveAuctioneers to ATG. This is a significant milestone that will enhance our ability to support the transformation of the auction industry in its structural shift to online, and brings exciting new opportunities to further enable auctions to play their part in accelerating the growth of the circular economy. We look forward to working with a well-respected and experienced team, allowing us to widen our existing expertise and deliver further value to auctioneers, those who consign to auctioneers, and bidders.
“This combination will enable more auction houses to thrive in an increasingly digital world, extending their reach to bidders globally and bringing bidders access to millions of items. We will have a combined and growing network of c.3,800 auction houses, c.800,000 bidders, and host 70,000 auctions per year. Through further building our presence in the large and rapidly growing US art and antiques market, and adding technology capability and scale, we look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with auctioneers in the years ahead.”
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Founded in 2002, LiveAuctioneers is a leading source in North America for fine and decorative art, antiques and vintage collectibles from thousands of quality auction houses and galleries. The preferred online destination for bidders seeking one-of-a-kind treasures, its platform provides a comprehensive search, bidding and purchasing experience across the web and via its iOS/Android mobile-bidding apps. Always seeking to create enduring value for buyers and auction houses alike, LiveAuctioneers continues to be a leading innovator with its live-streaming video capabilities, online payments with anti-fraud guarantees, free consignment-sourcing solutions for auctioneers, and a free art and collectibles price-results database that contains millions of entries. To learn more, visit LiveAuctioneers.com.
About Auction Technology Group
Auction Technology Group plc (‘ATG’) is the operator of the world’s leading marketplaces and auction services for curated online auctions, seamlessly connecting bidders from around the world to more than 2,000 trusted auction houses across three major sectors: industrial & commercial equipment, art & antiques, and consumer surplus & retail returns.
About Cove Hill Partners
Cove Hill Partners is a long-term-oriented private equity firm focused on partnering with outstanding management teams to build market-leading technology and consumer companies. The firm manages long-duration funds with over $2.5 billion of commitments from its investors and founders. Based in Boston, Cove Hill has an innovative structure that provides the flexibility to enable a patient, concentrated, and value-add approach in a small portfolio of long-term investments. Cove Hill Partners has been an active investor in consumer internet businesses, which, in addition to LiveAuctioneers, include Storable Holdings, Kalkomey Enterprises, Caring.com and Fast Growing Trees.