Sotheby's And eBay Forge Strategic Online Alliance
Sotheby's and eBay to Introduce New Joint Online Destination for Fine Art, Antiques and Collectibles
Sotheby's Chooses eBay Live Auctions Technology to Enable Online Bidders to Participate in Traditional Auctions in New York and London
1.) The companies will introduce Sothebys.com online auctions into the eBay marketplace. Expected to open early this summer, the site will feature the same collecting categories of fine and decorative art, antiques, rare books, jewelry and collectibles currently offered on Sothebys.com. All items offered will continue to be guaranteed by sellers for authenticity and condition. The new Sothebys.com site on eBay will be built and hosted by eBay.
2.) Sotheby's will adopt eBay's Live Auctions technology to enable real-time online bidding for a significant number of Sotheby's traditional auctions held in New York and London. This technology will allow eBay users to participate in the excitement of a Sotheby's traditional auction by bidding online from their home or office.
3.) The companies will market Sothebys.com across both online and traditional media. Once launched, the new site will replace online auctions on Sothebys.com as well as eBay Premier, and will be accessible from both the eBay and Sotheby's websites. Until the new destination launches, both Sothebys.com and the eBay Premier sites will continue to operate as usual.
"Sotheby's and eBay have complementary strengths," said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay Inc. "eBay has a vibrant global marketplace and a proven technology platform. Sotheby's offers outstanding art expertise and a network of worldwide dealers and auction houses with a track record of selling the world's finest art, antiques and collectibles. We believe that together we will achieve great success."
"We are very excited about our new relationship with eBay," commented Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby's CEO. "This alliance with the most successful online marketplace in the world combines eBay's powerful technology platform and global following of 42 million registered users with Sotheby's unmatched auction expertise and experience. It represents the next phase in Sotheby's online auction business, and we believe it will positively position Sothebys.com for future growth."
Property posted on the new online destination will come from Sotheby's and its network of dealers and regional auction houses around the world. In addition, selected eBay Premier dealers and Butterfields Auctioneers, a subsidiary of eBay Inc., will become sellers of arts, antiques and collectibles on the new site. Sothebys.com's Dealer Associates are recognized experts in their respective fields. They adhere to strict standards for quality and integrity, offering a vast selection of fine and decorative art, antiques, rare books, jewelry and collectibles online. Every item offered on Sothebys.com is guaranteed by the seller for both authenticity and condition, so collectors can feel at ease buying rare and valuable items online.
A History in Online Sales of High-End Arts, Antiques and Collectibles
Online auctions are a complementary part of Sotheby's business. In its first two years online, Sothebys.com has sold nearly $100 million of property. The top selling lots on the site include: the record-setting first printing of the Declaration of Independence, which sold for $8.14 million; a rediscovered 19th century portrait by Frederic Lord Leighton, which brought $550,750; an important Tiffany & Co. silver and carved ivory tankard from the year 1900 that sold for $220,750; and Louis Armstrong's boyhood cornet, which brought $108,000. In addition to these top selling lots, Sothebys.com has sold thousands of lots in the $1,000 price range.
According to Sothebys.com Dealer Associate, Ken Farmer of Radford Virginia, "As a small auction business in Virginia, I could not be more pleased with the results I've achieved on Sothebys.com. As a perfect example, last fall I chose to offer online a rare and newly discovered portrait by Frederic, Lord Leighton. The auction attracted several bidders from around the world, resulting in a record price of $550,750, well above my estimate of $200/300,000."
eBay has continued its commitment to the sale of high-end arts, antiques and collectibles through its specialty site, eBay Premier. The launch of eBay Premier in January 2001 expanded and improved the company's offering to high-end art buyers. In addition, eBay's acquisition of Butterfields Auctioneers in 1999 has broadened the offering of higher-end items on the eBay site.
eBay has also enabled the sale of high-end art, antiques and collectibles through its Live Auctions technology. This powerful tool allows real-time online bidding in traditional auctions. Online bidders enjoy the excitement of participating in an auction, without having to travel to the auction's actual physical location. Individuals must register to participate in the auction, and can place an absentee bid or come back to bid online during the event.
eBay is The World's Online MarketplaceTM. Founded in 1995, eBay created a powerful platform for the sale of goods and services by a passionate community of individuals and businesses. On any given day, there are millions of items across thousands of categories for sale on eBay, as well as on Half.com, eBay's site dedicated to fixed price trading. eBay enables trade on a local, national and international basis with customized sites in markets around the world.
About Sotheby's Holdings, Inc.
Sotheby's Holdings, Inc. is the parent company of Sotheby's worldwide live and online auctions, art-related financing and real estate activities. Sotheby's operates in 36 countries, with principal salesrooms located in New York and London. Sotheby's also regularly conducts auctions in 12 other salesrooms around the world, including Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Singapore. Sotheby's Holdings, Inc. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
Sotheby's Holdings, Inc. Forward-Looking Statements
This release contains certain "forward-looking statements" (as such term is defined in the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) relating to future events and the financial performance of the Company. Such statements are only predictions and involve risks and uncertainties, resulting in the possibility that the actual events or performances will differ materially from such predictions. Major factors which the Company believes could cause the actual results to differ materially from the predicted results in the "forward-looking statements" include the overall strength of the international economy and financial markets, competition with other auctioneers and art dealers (including Internet auction sites), the volume of consigned property and the marketability at auction of such property, the Company's success in developing and implementing its Internet auction strategy, the resolution of the European Commission investigation regarding commissions charged by the Company for auction services and the successful implementation of the Company's restructuring plan.
eBay Inc.'s Forward-Looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those discussed. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, consumer acceptance of the Internet as a means to transact in high-end art, antiques and collectibles, consumer acceptance of the Internet auction format for goods that have historically traded offline in the traditional auction business, acceptance of the new website by existing and potential sellers of the two predecessor websites and the laws and related regulations that may limit or restrict the activities of the new website. More information about potential factors which could affect eBay's business and financial results is included in eBay's Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2001 under the headings "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and results of Operations". All forward-looking statements are based on information available to eBay on the date hereof, and eBay assumes no obligation to update such statements.