Qatar eyeing auction house Christie’s in bid to establish cutural credentials


LONDON — The emir of Qatar has expressed an interest in the auction house Christie’s as the Gulf state seeks to establish itself as a cultural center, in comments to a newspaper published Monday. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told the Financial Times that he would not hold back if an opportunity came up to bid for the auction house and fine art business.

“We are building a museum and it [Christie’s] has links with the stuff we are collecting for our museum,” the emir said.

“It depends on the opportunity — if we had a good opportunity we would not hesitate.” Christie’s, which was founded almost 250 years ago, told the paper that it had not received a formal approach from the Qataris.

Qatar, a major exporter of liquefied natural gas, has ploughed its riches into a series of high-profile investments in recent times.

It snapped up the landmark London department store Harrods in May for a reported 1.5 billion pounds (US$2.4 billion).