In February the luxury goods group LVMH, led by Frenchman Bernard Arnault, added the top French auctioneers, Etude Tajan, to its investments which already included Phillips auction house. Now François Pinault, owner of Christie’s, has entered into partnership with the next biggest French auctioneers, Piasa (Picard-Audap Solanet et Associés) and becomes its chief shareholder upon the passing of the law liberalising the French auction market. in 1999 Piasa had a turnover of FFr280 million. Pierre Audap emphasised that Christie’s would not be taking over Piasa, but that their activities would run parallel. The acquisition gives access to the network of collectors, and notaries who handle estates.