Bill Koch, a much less politically active billionaire Koch brother than his brothers Charles and David, appears to be liquidating assets.Now, Bill Koch is putting up for auction a large part of his wine collection.
In 2015, he sold several high-profile pieces of art, including, for $67.5 million, Pablo Picasso’s “The Nightclub Singer", reports WSJ.
Now he wants to sell an Aspen, Colorado property so bad that he has cut the price from $100 million to $80 million.
On May 19, 20,000 bottles of wine from William Koch’s cellar will go to auction at Sotheby’s. The blockbuster sale, spread across three days (May 19–21), represents close to half of the billionaire’s total collection and was acquired over the course of nearly 40 years....The cover story is that he has more than wine than he will ever be able to drink:
Koch’s wine, which will be broken up into about 2,700 lots, is estimated to go for $10.5 million to $15 million. More than 120 lots are from the coveted Château Latour, including one that consists of six 1961 magnums, which carries an estimate of $42,000 to $60,000. There are also more than 80 lots of Château Mouton Rothschild; one, composed of 10 bottles of Mouton’s 1945 vintage, is expected to sell for $80,000 to $120,000. “That’s one of the most legendary wines,” said Kriegel. “It’s the wartime vintage, and it’s one of the greatest wines they’ve ever made. To see it on such a scale is pretty spectacular.”
Koch simply had too much of a good thing. “He realized he could never get through all of this wine,” said [Connor Kriegel, head of auction sales for Sotheby’s Wine]. In a statement announcing the sale, Koch echoed that sentiment: “With around 43,000 bottles, I could not possibly consume everything in my cellar so I am delighted to offer this selection to allow collectors all over the world to enjoy the glorious moments that come with these wines,” he wrote.But didn't he know this when he was spending millions of dollars on the wine?
Maybe a billionaire might get bored with his paintings, or his multi-million dollar spectacular Aspen ranch, or his wine collection. but all three?
This looks to me like a massive asset liquidation. The question becomes why. He is not politically active the way his brothers, Charles and David, are, but he surely understands the precarious nature of the economy. Does he think the end is near for the economy? Does he think society is about to collapse? What is he doing with the money? Is he buying gold? Has he built a Galt's gulch?