Star LA Weekly blogger Nikki Finke reports that mogul David Geffen is selling his art collection to drum up extra funds for the war chest he will need if the rumors of his impending buyout of the Los Angeles Times from Tribune are true.
Geffen allegedly sold two paintings privately to hedge fund billionaires, and made out with a neat $143.5 million.
The New York Times reported that Geffen deacquisitioned Jasper Johns’ 1959 “False Start” (left) for $80 million and Willem de Kooning’s 1955 “Police Gazette” (right) for $63.5 mil. The new owners are Kenneth Griffin (who visited fell in love with the painting during an art tour of Geffen’s estate) and Steven Cohen respectively; both are building high-profile art collections.
“The sales are feeding speculation that Mr. Geffen is trying to raise money to buy The Los Angeles Times,” The NYT said.
“But it is clear that like many other seasoned collectors, he is taking advantage of a red-hot market infused with money made by today’s crop of hedge-fund billionaires.”
Finke reports that “actor Steve Martin, too, is said to be deacquisitioning. On the other hand, plenty of other Hollywood folk keep acquisitioning. At one art auction where New Line’s Bob Shaye was buying, he earned the nickname shades because no reporters in the room knew the identity of the guy in sunglasses who wouldn’t tell them his name.”