Epiris today announces that Bonhams, the global auctioneer and a portfolio company of Epiris Fund II, has acquired Cornette de Saint Cyr, one of France’s leading auction houses. This is the fifth add-on acquisition for Bonhams and the thirteenth to be completed by a Fund II portfolio company. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

Bonhams is one of the world’s leading auctioneers of fine art and antiquities, motor cars and jewellery. Founded in London in 1793, the business operates globally from flagship sale rooms in London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong, and this year will hold more than 400 specialist sales across 53 different categories. Epiris first invested in Bonhams in 2018 and since then has backed the acquisitions of The Market, an online marketplace for classic car auctions, in 2021, and of Bukowskis, Skinner, and Bruun Rasmussen, leading auction houses in Denmark, New England and Sweden, respectively, in 2022.

Cornette de Saint Cyr was founded in Paris in 1973 by Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr whose son Arnaud will lead the business, to be renamed Bonhams Cornette de Saint Cyr, after the acquisition. From its sale rooms in Paris and Brussels, the business held seventy sales in 2021 across a broad range of categories including jewellery and fashion, design and furniture, and most notably contemporary and modern art as well as Asian art. Bonhams and Cornette de Saint Cyr will together offer the Robert & Jean-Pierre Rousset Collection of Asian Art, comprising more than 300 lots assembled by three generations of the Rousset family since 1920, for sale in October.

Bonhams is run by Chief Executive Bruno Vinciguerra.

Owen Wilson, Partner at Epiris, said:
“Bonhams opened its own sale room in Paris last year to build its presence in one of the world’s leading auction hubs. This acquisition represents a huge step forward for our ambitions in an important market and cements Bonhams’ position as the world’s leading mid-market auction house.”

Alex Fortescue, Managing Partner at Epiris, said:
“Across Funds I and II we have now led forty-three add-on acquisitions. Well-planned and well-executed M&A is a core part of our strategy to add scale, strategic position and growth to the companies we invest in. Bonhams is one of several companies in the portfolio today that really embodies this.”

Bruno Vinciguerra, Chief Executive of Bonhams, said:
“We have known and admired Cornette de Saint Cyr for many years, and the complementarity of our approach is perfectly illustrated by the forthcoming Rousset sale, a major event in the Asian art world, that we are working on together. We are thrilled to be able to form a permanent partnership with such a
prominent and respected house.”

The Epiris team on the deal is Alex Fortescue, Owen Wilson and Zoe Lai. Epiris and Bonhams are advised by DS Avocats and Mazars.

For Epiris LLP please contact:
Robert White, Matthew Goodman, Daniel Oliver
+44 (0)20 7952 2000


About Epiris
Epiris is a top-decile* private equity firm which invests in opportunities to transform businesses in partnership with exceptional management teams. It targets control positions in UK-headquartered businesses with an enterprise value of between £75 million and £500 million, deploying between £40 million and £150 million of equity.

Fund I
Between 2011 and 2016 Epiris invested £1 billion in buyouts and loan-to-own debt investments in respect of which it has delivered a gross IRR of 38%*. Synthetic net returns from this portfolio are in the top-decile of European private equity funds of comparable vintages.

Fund II
Epiris Fund II is an institutional private equity fund raised in 2017. Investments made by Fund II include Portals, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of “substrate” for banknotes; TI Media, one of the largest consumer magazine publishers in the UK, which the Fund sold to Future plc for £140 million in
April 2020, generating a return of 2.1x MOIC, a 44% IRR; The Club Company, the UK’s largest country club operator; Bonhams, the global auction house; Diamorph, a supplier of advanced material solutions for demanding and safety-critical applications; IFG, a financial services business comprising James Hay,
which provides investment platform services, as well as Saunderson House, an independent wealth manager and financial adviser which the Fund sold to Rathbone Brothers Plc for £150 million in October 2021; The Big Table, a leading UK restaurant operator; Sharps, the UK’s leading supplier of bespoke
fitted bedroom furniture; Stuart Turner, a producer of pumps and water-boosting products for residential and commercial uses; and ISS, one of the world’s largest maritime services providers, which the fund agreed to acquire in April 2022.

Issued by Epiris which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*As at 31 March 2022. Gross IRR does not reflect adjustments for investment management and administration costs. Comparator data supplied by Preqin. Past performance is no guarantee of future results