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Qatar keen to buy Christie’s auction house

London, Oct 25 (DPA) Qatar has an interest in buying London auction house Christie’s should the situation arise, the country’s leader said in an interview with the Financial Times Monday.

Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said that he would not hesitate to bid for the auction house should the opportunity arise.

Qatar was building a museum to which Christie’s, with its widespread connections, could contribute a great deal, he added.

Christie’s has in recent years expanded its business in the Middle East, and Qatar is known to want to establish its status as a cultural nation in the region, the newspaper said.

Christie’s was not immediately available for comment Monday. But a spokeswoman was quoted as telling the Financial Times that no formal offer has been received.

Earlier this year, Qatar bought Harrods, London’s luxury department store.

Christie’s is currently owned by Artemis, the private holding company of French art collector and multi-millionaire Francois Pinault.

Christie’s International recorded an increase in turnover of 46 percent in the first half of 2010, reaching 1.7 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).

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