Sotheby’s stock (BID) has lost more than a third of its value since the company announced during its last earnings call that it would be challenged to generate any commission revenue from its sale of the Taubman estate. The expected loss of agency revenue has caused Sotheby’s to trade on its financial services revenue.
Unfortunately, financial services firms trade at a lower price to earnings ration than an auction house or other companies in the luxury goods space. Consequently, BID has fallen from a P/E ratio in 20s to one below 12 this morning.
Since the new year, Sotheby’s stock has gone into a precipitous decline of 15%.(The unexpected departure of the firm’s CFO over the holidays cannot have helped.)
With the announcement of its acquisition of Art Agency, Partners pending until today, Sotheby’s has been unable to buy back shares at these levels. Today’s announcement should permit the firm to resume its buyback program.
Whether today’s news and the buybacks are enough to fight the downward momentum of the overall market will be one important question for this week.