BidFair USA, owned by billionaire telecom entrepreneur and art collector Patrick Drahi, has agreed to buy auction house Sotheby’s in a deal worth $3.7bn.

Following the completion of the deal in the fourth quarter of this year, Sotheby’s would become a private company.

For the last 31 years, the auction house has been operating as a public company.

As part of the agreed terms of the deal, each share of Sotheby’s will fetch $57 in cash.

The deal terms already received the green light from Sotheby’s board.

Drahi noted: “Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world.

“As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family.”

The transaction is subject to shareholder and regulatory nod.

Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith said: “Known for his commitment to innovation and ingenuity, Patrick founded and leads some of the most successful telecommunications, media and digital companies in the world.

“He has a long-term view and shares our brand vision for great client service and employing innovation to enhance the value of the company for clients and employees.

“This acquisition will provide Sotheby’s with the opportunity to accelerate the successful programme of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment.”

Recently, Citi Private Bank partnered with Sotheby’s to deliver a new programme called Art: Beyond Borders.