Art Market

Rupert Murdoch is reportedly looking to take a large stake in Art Basel’s parent company.

Justin Kamp
Jun 29, 2020 4:13PM, via The Art Newspaper

Visitors at the 2019 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach. Photo © Art Basel.

As Art Basel’s parent company MCH Group struggles to raise capital in the face of multiple fair cancellations, a number of investors have reportedly expressed interest in buying large shares of the company— foremost among them being billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch. According to The Art Newspaper, the Swiss newspaper Finanz Und Wirtschaft reported that MCH Group is in “advanced negotiations” with Murdoch via his son, James Rupert Murdoch, with the pair looking to stake up to CHF100 million ($105 million), equivalent to a 30 percent share in the company.

In a statement on its website, MCH Group announced that the canton of Basel-Stadt, currently the company’s majority stakeholder with a 33.3 percent share, approved MCH’s pursuit of increased capital, and has waived its subscription right to equal percentage ownership as majority shareholder. It has also approved that a loan of CHF30 million (around $31 million) be converted into share capital for the company.

The statement goes on to say:

The Canton of Basel-Stadt is thus making it possible for a new investor to acquire a significant minority holding in the event of a capital increase. At the same time, the Canton is ensuring that the public sector maintains a stake of more than 33.3%, enabling it to prevent changes to the Statutes.

Despite Basel-Stadt’s intention to preserve public ownership of more than 33.3 percent, Swiss investor Annette Schömmel has reportedly expressed interest in purchasing a majority share of MCH. According to The Art Newspaper, Schömmel has put together a consortium to buy a 70 percent stake for CHF350 million (about $369 million).

Further Reading: What Sold at Art Basel in Basel Online

Justin Kamp