Sotheby's is a British-founded American multinational corporation with headquarters in New York City. It is one of the world's largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewellery, and collectibles. It has 80 locations in 40 countries, and maintains a significant presence in the UK.
Sotheby's was established on 11 March 1744 in London by Samuel Baker, a bookseller. In 1767 the firm became Baker & Leigh, after George Leigh became a partner, and was renamed to Leigh and Sotheby in 1778 after Baker's death when Leigh's nephew, John Sotheby, inherited Leigh's share. Other former names include: Leigh, Sotheby and Wilkinson; Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge (1864–1924); Sotheby and Company (1924–83); Mssrs Sotheby; Sotheby & Wilkinson; Sotheby Mak van Waay; and Sotheby's & Co.
The American holding company was initially incorporated in August 1983 in Michigan as Sotheby's Holdings, Inc. In June 2006, it was reincorporated in the State of Delaware and was renamed Sotheby's. In July 2016, Chinese insurance company Taikang Life became Sotheby's largest shareholder. In June 2019, Sotheby's announced that it was being acquired by French-Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi at a 61% market premium.
Sotheby's Institute of Art (an educational facility), Sotheby's International Realty (real estate dealers), and RM Sotheby's (classic car dealers) are subsidiaries or partner organisations.[