YieldStreet, a digital wealth platform with the backing of investor George Soros, has bought Athena Art Finance for around $170m, the FT reports.
YieldStreet is a wealth platform for alternative investments, specialising in areas such as real estate and shipping.
Athena Art Finance provides loans to art dealers and has, since it founding in 2015, established itself as one of the most active players in the $20 billion global market.
Athena was founded by a group of investors, including Swiss bank Pictet, and led by Olvier Sarkozy: former managing director of private equity group Carlyle and half-brother of former French president Nicolas.
Athena Art Finance has provided over $225m in loans to art collectors over the last four years.
YieldStreet’s aim is to make alternative investments available to everyday investors. These areas can produce high returns, but are generally difficult to obtain exposure to, due to not being traded on public markets.
They are therefore usually only available to institutional investors like family offices and hedge funds.
The acquisition of Athena Art Finanace is YieldStreet’s first corporate purchase, and makes use of the $62m of funding secured in February.
Founder and president of YieldStreet, Michael Weisz, says: “Our acquisition of Athena Art Finance demonstrates YieldStreet’s ability to leverage our technology, proprietary origination channels and efficient direct-to-consumer distribution, to take a traditional capital intensive business and make it capital efficient.
“We’re thrilled to have the Athena Art Finance team join the YieldStreet family, and look forward to supporting its existing business and continued scale and success.”
“True to our investor-first approach, we are constantly looking for unique and attractive diversification opportunities,” says Milind Mehere, founder & CEO of YieldStreet.
“Art financing is an attractive asset class with typically low correlation to the stock market and low loan-to-values, providing what we believe is both an exciting and sound new investment option for our investor community of more than 100,000 members.”