June 17 (UPI) -- International auction house Sotheby's accepted a $3.7 billion merger with French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drai on Monday.
The auction house, which operates in major cities throughout the world such as London, New York City, Hong Kong and Paris, issued a statement saying the company will return to private ownership through the acquisition after 31 years as a publicly traded company.
As a result of the transition, all of the company's shareholders will receive $57 per share,
Sotheby's CEO Tad Smith said the acquisition and Drai's ownership will position the company "very well for our future."
"This acquisition will provide Sotheby's with the opportunity to accelerate the successful program of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment," Smith said.
Sotheby's said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, pending shareholder approval.