Chicago's Leslie Hindman Auctioneers has acquired Cowan's Auctions via Hindman LLC, a new entity. Private equity provided the funding for the buy-out.
Leslie Hindman will become co-chair of Hindman LLC. Wes Cowan, founder of Cowan's Auctions, will be vice chair of the new entity. Thomas Galbraith, who joined Leslie Hindman Auctioneers as CEO in June, will be CEO of Hindman.
The two firms employ about 150 people altogether and will operate independently for the foreseeable future, says a spokeswoman for Hindman, adding that the merger enables the two to share back-office services and efficiencies.
According to the release announcing the acquisition, the formation of Hindman LLC creates one of the largest auction house in the Midwest.
In a personal statement, Wes Cowan wrote, “When I started this company almost 25 years ago, I was conducting auctions over the phone and through the mail from a makeshift office in my garage. Today, Cowan’s is nearly 50 employees strong, holding over 60 auctions a year. We just finished 2018 with $17.3 million in sales, a new record for the company.
Hindman launched her business in 1982, and in 1997, she sold it to Sotheby's, the international auction house. In 2003, she launched a new firm, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
Cowan and Hindman have known each other for years and their firms share "many core values," according to the release.