Qatar plans to buy Christie’s

LONDON .- The Emirate of Qatar has expressed interest in buying the world famous auction house, Christie’s, as soon as possible, to consolidate itself as the premier cultural destination in the Gulf countries.

“We are building a museum and (Christie’s) is related to what we are collecting for the museum,” said reformist Qatari emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in remarks published today by Financial Times. ”

“It’s depends on the opportunity, if a good one presents itself we will not hesitate,” said the monarch, 58, on the international firm, currently controlled by the French businessman Francois Pinault, owner of Pinault-Printemps- La Redoute (PPR).

Qatar, is the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, has actively invested in foreign assets for the benefit of its future generations.

Although investments have been directed mainly to financial and real estate in other countries, the emirate also has great cultural ambitions, the newspaper said. So, it wants to build on the momentum that the country has obtained with the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by famed architect IM Pei, opened in December for a new museum of contemporary Arab art, and believes there could be even more than those.

The members of the Qatari ruling family have been collecting art for decades in the region and around the world and are important customers of Christie’s.

“We are investing everywhere, even in Harrods (the London luxury department store),” says the Qatari sheikh to the British newspaper.

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