Epiris today announces that Bonhams, the global auction house and a portfolio company of Epiris Fund II, has acquired Bruun Rasmussen, one of Scandinavia’s leading auctioneers. This is the fourth add-on acquisition for Bonhams and the twelfth 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 backed the add-on acquisitions of The Market, an online marketplace for classic car auctions, in 2021 and Bukowskis, the leading auction house in the Nordics, and Skinner, a leading US auctioneer based in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2022.

Bruun Rasmussen was established in Copenhagen in 1948 by Arne Bruun Rasmussen, whose son Jesper has chaired the company since 1985 and will continue as Chairman Emeritus, and whose grandchildren Frederik and Alexa will also remain involved with the business. The company is headquartered in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn district and conducts live auctions at its original sale rooms in the city’s centre, as well as online auctions. Bruun Rasmussen sells more than 75,000 lots each year across a wide range of categories from furniture, paintings and modern design to silver, carpets and wine. The business is the subject of a documentary series, “Auktionhuset”, which has been running on Danish TV channel TV 2 FRI since 2013.

Bonhams is run by Chief Executive Bruno Vinciguerra and Bruun Rasmussen, by CEO Jakob Dupont.

Owen Wilson, Partner at Epiris, said:

“This is Bonhams’ third acquisition this year and its fourth under our ownership. Bruun Rasmussen is a highly complementary addition to the Bonhams family, building on its presence in the important Nordic market and offering plentiful opportunities to develop synergies between the two auction houses’ networks and brands.”

Alex Fortescue, Managing Partner at Epiris, said:

“We often speak of the importance of M&A to our strategy, bringing as it does scale, geographic breadth and new customers, products and expertise. Bonhams is one of several companies in our portfolio that really embodies this and has demonstrated its capacity to access new growth opportunities by successfully sourcing and executing compelling acquisition opportunities.”

Bruno Vinciguerra, Chief Executive of Bonhams, said:

“Bruun Rasmussen is one of the great European auction houses. A brand revered in Denmark, it is known and loved for its pioneering sales, particularly in Scandinavian art and design. We are delighted to welcome Bruun Rasmussen to our growing family.”

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


For Epiris LLP please contact:

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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; and Stuart Turner, a producer of pumps and water-boosting products for residential and commercial uses.

For further information, please visit www.epiris.co.uk.

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

*As at 30 September 2021. 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.