Sotheby’s to bring earnings back to US

British Artist Zoe Bradley displays her paper sculpture crown at Sotheby'sImage copyright
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New York-based auction house Sotheby’s is to bring overseas earnings back to the US, a move which will contribute to the firm reporting a quarterly loss.

Sotheby’s has said it will repatriate about $381m to help fund its share buyback programme.

As a result it will take a charge of between $63m and $68m to cover US taxes, it said in a regulatory filing.

The company estimates it will record a loss of between $10m and $19m (£7m-£13m) for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Sotheby’s will also take a $37m pre-tax charge for staff payoffs.

The company said it needed to bring the cash back to the US for “corporate strategic initiatives”.

The move to repatriate earnings is unusual for a US-based multinational – many choose to re-invest cash earned overseas due to relatively high US tax rates.

On Thursday, Sotheby’s board voted to scrap its quarterly dividend, and increase its share buyback programme by $200m, taking its total to $325m.

The board also voted to scrap its fourth quarter dividend.

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