LVMH sells majority stake in Phillips auction house to management

French luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Tuesday it will reduce its stake in Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg to 27.5%, leaving majority control of the international auction house in the hands of the company’s principals, Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg.

LVMH says the decision is part of the strategy of differentiating Phillips from other auction houses and LVMH’s desire to concentrate on the development of luxury products.

The company said in a statement that the transfer “marks a continuation of Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg’s evolution and development.” The first stage was marked by the merger of Phillips with de Pury & Luxembourg Art in December 2000, as a result of which Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg took leadership of the new Phillips, as well as becoming shareholders. In 2001, Phillips’ main UK operations were combined with the Bonhams & Brooks auction house, enabling Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg to focus on the high-end of the art market.

“Now clearly recognized as the number three in the world, Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg is pursuing a very different strategy from its competitors, focusing on the quality, rather than the scope of services offered, and using the very highest level of personal relationships,” the statement says. “It seems logical and practical for the two main principals of Phillips-Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg-to assume majority ownership of the company.”

Anne Sutherland Fuchs, who has been CEO of Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, will become Executive Vice President of LVMH, reporting to Antonio Belloni, Group Managing Director, with responsibility for strategic projects in the U.S. market, headquartered in New York, the company said. She will be succeeded at Phillips by Louise Blouin McBain.