August 2022 is shaping up to be a huge month in the auction world, and Monterey hasn’t even happened yet. Just a couple of days after the announcement that Hagerty had acquired Broad Arrow Group, news broke that Barrett-Jackson had been acquired by the events, media, sports and fashion company IMG.
IMG operates high-profile events like Frieze art fairs, the Madrid and Miami Open tennis tournaments, New York Fashion Week: The Shows, and Formula Drift, and will serve as Barrett-Jackson’s strategic partner with CEO Craig Jackson and President Steve Davis. It reportedly purchased 55 percent of Barrett-Jackson for $261M in a cash and stock deal.
Founded in 1971, Barrett-Jackson became the first major classic car auction to hit living room TV screens in the ’90s, and its mega-sales billed as “the world’s greatest collector car auctions” have hit Florida, Nevada, Connecticut and Texas. The company’s flagship sale in Scottsdale, Arizona, is one of the world’s oldest and largest. There’s apparently still room to grow, however, as Craig Jackson hopes the partnership will “amplify and accelerate the growth of Barrett-Jackson as a global lifestyle brand,” while Steve Davis echoes that he looks forward “to elevating our offering and attracting a whole new generation of fans.”
Two major auction acquisitions in a week is big news for market-watchers, but consolidation in this business certainly isn’t unheard of. Back in 2015 RM Auctions, which itself had acquired Auctions America in 2010, entered into a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s and rebranded as “RM Sotheby’s.” In 2018, Leake Auction Company was acquired by the industrial asset disposition & management company Ritchie Bros. And two years ago, online auction juggernaut Bring a Trailer was acquired by media company Hearst Autos. Barrett-Jackson is no stranger to this trend, either, having acquired the Classic Car Network (parent company of ClassicCars.com and online auctioneer AutoHunter) a year ago.
What sort of change this acquisition means for the company isn’t clear yet, but Barrett-Jackson’s next live auction will be in Houston, Texas on October 20-22.