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Entries in Christie’s (1)

Thursday
Aug202009

Recap: Christie’s Scraps Plans for Art-Investment Fund, Loan Division; Yazzy's at www.williamverdult.com

(Bloomberg) -- Christie’s International has scrapped plans to start an art-investment fund and a lending division, according to two people involved with the projects. The move is another sign that the global economic slump is hurting the once-booming art market.

At least seven employees working on Christie’s financial projects have been fired or have left the London-based auction house since December, the people said.

Christie’s spokesman Toby Usnik wouldn’t comment on the status of the investment fund or lending operation. He said “a handful of employees in financial services” have left the company this year, though he wouldn’t give specific numbers.

The auction house, owned by French billionaire Francois Pinault, reported a 35 percent sales decline in the first half of 2009. Christie’s announced “significant staff reductions” in January and another round of cutbacks in June without disclosing specific figures or names.

“Christie’s retrenchment, and the continued paring down of financial officers and staff is symptomatic of the state of the art market,” said Peter R. Stern of McLaughlin & Stern LLP, a lawyer who specializes in art issues. “These actions are necessary if the auction houses want to survive.”

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