Big news in the world of online art auctioneering today, as Berlin's Auctionata, a well-funded heavyweight in this space, is about to announce a merger with its NYC-based peer, Paddle8, according to a report from The New York Times.
**Update:** the deal has been confirmed this morning, further details below
Its list of investors is long, but here goes: Auctionata has raised capital from Groupe Arnault (LVMH - Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), Bright Capital, e.ventures, Earlybird, Hearst Ventures, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Kite Ventures, MCI Management, The Raffay Group, REN INVEST, TA Ventures and Yuan Capital. German Startups Group also recently acquired equity in the startup.
By joining forces with its US rival, the combined entity can build on a stronger foundation for international expansion, the reasoning is. Together, Auctionata and Paddle8 reported sales in 2015 of around $150 million and have nearly 800,000 between the two of them.
Paddle8 has raised $44 million in funding, from the likes of Damien Hirst, Rolf Sachs, art dealer David Zwirner, Working Title Films co-chairman Eric Fellner and Sony Music Entertainment CEO International and chairman Edgar Berger.
Terms of the merger with Paddle8 were not disclosed.
Alexander Zacke, CEO of Auctionata, will apparently lead the new company, almost certainly a result of the fact that the Berlin company is the bigger one of the pair in terms of both financing raised and actual sales ($90 million versus $50 million in 2015).
**Update 2:** Here's part of the press release about the merger:
"Auctionata and Paddle8 announced today that they are joining forces to create the global leader in online art, collectibles and vintage luxury. The joint company will immediately become one of the top 10 auction houses worldwide outside of China and the fastest growing company in the sector.
Paddle8 and Auctionata share a vision of being the destination of choice for the 21st century collector as well as art dealers. Auctionata has already established a presence in Europe as the leading German auction platform. In the U.S., Paddle8 is the largest online auction platform and has strong brand recognition as a marketplace for art and luxury collectibles."
“This merger allows us to allocate greater resources toward innovating at every step of the collecting process, from online valuation services to post-sale fulfillment, and to expand our current offerings in terms of both categories and sales channels,” said Aditya Julka, co-founder of Paddle8. “As a result, we’ll be able to provide the best customer experience and the most efficient and comprehensive platform in the middle market for buyers and sellers from every corner of the globe.”