The branch of Citigroup Inc. dedicated to researching investment options for clients (the Investment Research Division) has begun monitoring Sotheby’s, the company announced yesterday. Citigroup will partner with art research groups like Artvest and Skate’s Art Market Research, along with its own Private Bank Art Advisory Team on the venture.
“Artvest believes that the health of the overall art market is one indicator of movement in Sotheby’s share price,” Artvest said in a press release, “and thus the firm’s input into Citigroup’s assessment is significant.”
Sotheby’s revenues rose 60 percent last year to $774.3 million, but Citigroup’s initial report on Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) actually doesn’t advise a buy. Doling out a neutral rating, Citigroup sees vast potential for the company in Asia, but also the opportunity for new competition there. “A Preeminent Global Auction Platform,” reads Citigroup’s pithy subhead on the report, “But We Do Not Hit the BID Yet.” Read the whole thing here.