Sotheby's/Christie's Auction House Litigation

The Situation

To resolve the antitrust litigation that alleged price fixing between Christie's and Sotheby's, a settlement was proposed that included $512 million in cash and transferable "discount certificates" with a "fair market value" of $100 million that could be used to offset sellers' commissions at auction at either house.

NERA's Role

As one of two court appointed experts in the litigation, a NERA economist helped determined the fair value and competitive effects of the coupons.

The Result

Based on the experts' recommendations to the Court, defendants increased the face value of the coupons in the proposed settlement to $125 million and added a clause making the coupons redeemable for cash if unused after four years. The judge relied on the experts' analysis to conclude that no significant anticompetitive effects were likely to occur, and approved the revised settlement.