Sold! Auction House Sotheby’s Sells for $3.7 Billion to Telecom Billionaire

Art auction house Sotheby’s will be taken private by billionaire Patrick Drahi-owned company BidFair USA at a high premium, the company announced Monday.

Drahi, a long-time media titan and avid art collector, will take Sotheby’s private after 31 years on the market as a public company at a $3.7 billion price tag.

“Sotheby’s is one of the most elegant and aspirational brands in the world,” Drahi said in a statement. “As a longtime client and lifetime admirer of the company, I am acquiring Sotheby’s together with my family.”

According to a statement from the company, shareholders will receive $57 in cash per share of common stock from the deal–a 61% premium on Sotheby’s close on Friday.

But for some analysts, that 61% premium is inexplicably high given the niche market Sotheby’s operates in.

“It’s a big premium,” Alex Maroccia, an equity research analyst at Berenberg Capital Markets, said. “This premium implies nearly all-time highs for the stock. It’s a lot higher than where we had it valued because it’s not a very transparent business. The auction market itself is pretty risky because it’s cyclical and there are these auction guarantees that Sotheby’s gives out that, when investors hear about them, if they take a loss, it almost comes out of the blue. So the lack of transparency makes the stock trade at somewhat of a discount. It’s a really tough business to value in that regard, plus, I don’t know how they got $57 per share.”

In fact, Maroccia, who has been following the company, claims Drahi may have seen the deal as an opportunity to get in on an industry he is well acquainted with from the customer side. And, according to Maroccia, Sotheby’s recent attempts to make their operations leaner may have sweetened up the deal.

“Maybe [Drahi] thought that he would be able to get it at a discount, maybe [he] saw an upswing in the operations–because they have been taking a much leaner approach in recent years, trying to reduce the risk from the auction guarantees, making sure they’re not giving out ridiculous loans on the financing side,” Maroccia said.

Still, the deal, which was approved by Sotheby’s board of directors and shareholders, comes at a time when the company’s stock was down 40% over the past 12 months. To boot, the company’s earnings over the past year have been weaker, reporting a loss of $7.1 million in its 1st quarter earnings report this year–a 9% increase from the same period last year.

“On the operational side, they haven’t really outlined a strategy now that could get them there in terms of where we see their growth,” Maroccia said. “The business has been moving more online recently, so the margins have been benefiting from that. Honestly, after that, I don’t really see what’s going to bridge the gap here because they haven’t done a transformative acquisition in recent years–they’ve kind of focused their acquisition efforts downmarket to increase their total addressable market, but that still doesn’t make up this $18 difference.”

But according to the New York-based company’s executives, Sotheby’s is optimistic about being private once more.

“[Drahi] has a long-term view and shares our brand vision for great client service and employing innovation to enhance the value of the company for clients and employees,” Sotheby’s CEO Tad Smith said in a press release. “This acquisition will provide Sotheby’s with the opportunity to accelerate the successful program of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment. It positions us very well for our future and I strongly believe that the company will be in excellent hands for decades to come with Patrick as our owner.”

Sotheby’s, which was founded in 1744, saw shares pop 58% in intraday trading on the news.

The deal represents somewhat of a departure from Drahi’s expenditures in recent years. Drahi, who founded telecom company Altice in 2001, has since acquired cable and internet provider Cablevision in 2016 for some $17.7 billion.

And while Sotheby’s is crossing back over to private territory, competitor Christie’s (which is private) doesn’t appear to be making any changes.

“It was ripe for Sotheby’s to go private,” Philip Hoffman, chief executive officer of the Fine Art Group and a former Christie’s executive, told Bloomberg on Monday. “Christie’s has more advantages being run privately and not having public quarterly reporting that puts pressure on their ability to do deals.”

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Iran Nuclear Deal, Enriched Uranium, and U.S. Sanctions: Everything You Need to Know

Iran is 10 days away from exceeding the uranium stockpile limit imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Monday that the country has quadrupled production of uranium, such that it would surpass the 300-kilogram limit by June 27. He noted, however, that there was “still time” for European countries to step in and protect Iran from U.S sanctions.

The move comes as tensions between the U.S. and Iran are running high, after a number of unexplained bombings of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, which the U.S. has blamed on Iran. Iran has denied involvement.

Here’s some background on what is happening.

What is the Iran nuclear deal?

In 2015, Iran, the U.S., and a number of other global powers signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), informally known as the Iran nuclear deal. Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit uranium production and allow international inspectors in the country in exchange for the lifting of preexisting sanctions that were crippling the nation’s economy.

By May 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal. In the months since, the U.S. has reimposed all of its sanctions on Iran.

The other nations have not followed suit, but the deal was weakened. They have nevertheless warned Iran not to violate it, suggesting that they would be forced to reimpose their own sanctions. Iran, for its part, has continued to maintain that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

What is enriched uranium and why is it a big deal?

Enriched uranium can be used for two things: to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons. The big distinguishing factor is how enriched the uranium is. “Low-enriched” uranium has a lower concentration of U-235 of 3-4% and is used for nuclear power plants. “Weapons-grade” uranium, on the other hand, is 90% enriched.

Under the JCPOA, Iran is required to cap its uranium enrichment at 3.67% until 2030, and the stockpile of this enriched uranium cannot exceed 300 kilograms. These and other limitations were put in place to dramatically decrease Iran’s ability to build a nuclear bomb and increase its “break-out time,” or time needed to rush to make a bomb, to more than one year.

Kamalvandi said that the increased uranium production is to meet the needs for a nuclear power plant in the south of the country, as well as a Tehran research center. However, he said that the enrichment levels needed are 5% and 20%, respectively, which could potentially make it easier and quicker to reach weapons-grade enrichment in the future.

What is really going on here?

After the U.S. withdrew from the JCPOA, it has become more difficult for the remaining countries to mitigate the effects of the reimposed sanctions on Iran’s economy. Some see Iran’s Monday announcement as a means to put pressure on Europe to come up with a solution, as it was timed just ahead of a scheduled meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels and the arrival of France’s new ambassador to Iran.

The U.K., Germany, and France have plans to set up an alternative payment mechanism which is intended to help companies trade with Iran, while circumventing penalties from the U.S. But this has not proven sufficient for Iran, which suspended commitments under the agreement last month and gave the remaining signatories to the deal a 60-day deadline to protect it from U.S. sanctions.

In the weeks since, it has largely become a game of chicken: the European countries have threatened to reimpose their own sanctions if Iran resumes uranium enrichment, while Iran has said it would resume such production if the signatories don’t protect it.

Kamalvandi told state TV Monday that “Iran’s reserves are every day increasing at a more rapid rate,” but added that “the move will be reversed once other parties fulfill their commitments.” A U.S. National Security Council spokesperson reportedly called Iran’s plans “nuclear blackmail.”

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Foreign Companies Can List on a Chinese Stock Exchange for the First Time

For the first time, overseas companies are being allowed to list on a Chinese stock exchange–though none have as yet said they are ready to take the plunge.

Specifically, large companies that have already been listed in the U.K. for a few years will be allowed to issue a form of share in Shanghai, while some Chinese companies will be able to raise capital in London. It’s all part of an unprecedented investment link between the two countries’ stock exchanges: the London-Shanghai Stock Connect, which went live Monday.

The channel represents a step in China’s tentative quest to open up its markets to the outside world. Foreign investors have difficulty playing directly in mainland China’s stock markets because the country has traditionally barred investors from converting their currency into yuan–a fact that has helped China keep a handle on exchange rates. They are, however, already able to buy some Chinese companies’ shares via Hong Kong, which has its own stock connects with the mainland.

Good timing

The London-Shanghai Stock Connect could prove handy for China at a time when its trade war with the U.S. is ramping up economic uncertainty. It means wealthier Chinese mainland investors can further diversify their risk, and some Chinese companies can–with state approval–look abroad for financing.

For the U.K., it’s an opportunity to demonstrate significant global trading ties at a time when the ongoing Brexit shambles is also rattling markets.

“London is a global financial center like no other, and today’s launch is a strong vote of confidence in the U.K. market,” said British Chancellor Philip Hammond on Monday, as the link became active. “Stock Connect is a ground-breaking initiative, which will deepen our global connectivity as we look outwards to new opportunities in Asia.”

The first company to take advantage of the stock connect is the Alibaba-backed Chinese securities broker Huatai, which is already listed in both Shanghai and Hong Kong.

As will be the case with all companies using the link, London traders won’t be able to buy and sell Huatai shares as such–instead, they will trade in Huatai depository receipts, which represent ownership of company shares that are held by a custodian bank. This alternative to direct share trading is necessary because of the time difference between the two countries.

In its Monday London listing, Huatai issued depository receipts representing a tenth of its total share capital–it raised $1.54 billion.

On the U.K. side, HSBC last year expressed an interest in using the stock connect for a Chinese listing. The banking giant said Monday that it could offer no updates on its plans.

Cautious move

An underlying question to the partnership is how much market liberalization it really represents for China. It certainly doesn’t look like it will be a sudden sea change.

According to China Securities chief strategy analyst Zhang Yulong, quoted by the South China Morning Post, Chinese regulators will probably “take a go-slow approach” to approving the issuance of depository receipts in Shanghai, so as not to “dilute existing holdings on the mainland market.” In other words, China doesn’t want investors to turn away from companies already listed there.

Retail investors in China will also need at least 3 million yuan ($433,000) to play with if they want to buy the new depository receipts of London-listed firms. This will encourage smaller mainland players to invest closer to home–there are already two stock connects between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese markets, in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The Shanghai-London Stock Connect was originally scheduled to launch last December, but it was delayed at the last minute. Factors behind the hitch included concerns over Brexit-related market turbulence in the U.K., and uncertainty over Chinese capital controls.

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You’ve Been Passed Over for a Promotion. Now What?

If a promotion you wanted went to a coworker instead, it’s probably not much consolation to know that you’re not alone. Far from it, in fact: On average, employees spend 50% longer at the same level in companies than before 2008, according to a report from Gartner, the corporate research giant .

In the dark days of the Great Recession, companies survived by hacking away at headcount and stripping away layers of management. So even now, there are simply fewer slots above you than there were before. To compensate for that, employers have upped the numbers of sideways moves available. But, Gartner vice president Brian Kopp says, the research shows that the majority of employees who make lateral jumps “end up feeling they’re worse off.”

No surprise there. If you were hoping for a bigger job with a better title and more money–not to mention an office with a door–the prospect of different work at the same level, with roughly the same pay (and a similar cubicle), just isn’t going to cut it. Of course, you could always quit in a huff, and many people do. Payroll provider ADP recently analyzed data from more than 13 million employees for a study that found that, when one member of a team gets promoted, turnover usually spikes among teammates who were passed over–especially in a great job market like this one, where other opportunities are thick on the ground.

That’s especially true for Millennials and Gen Z. “Baby Boomers were willing to spend more time paying their dues before getting promoted,” says Vicki Brackett, author of a book called The Leadership Toolbox: 14 Strategies That Build a Chain Reaction of Success. “Employees in their 20s and 30s won’t wait around.”

But let’s say you’re not quite ready to dust off your CV and hit the job boards. What can you do instead? First, try to figure out the reasons why someone else got the bigger job. It’s probably no use asking your boss. “You’re not likely to hear the real reasons,” Brackett says. “Companies are so risk-averse these days that managers who are confronted with this kind of question tend to give unhelpful answers that leave you even more in the dark than you were before.”

Instead, “take a hard look in the mirror, and then look closely at the person who got the promotion. What was it that convinced high-ups that person was ready for a bigger job? What has he or she been doing that you haven’t?”

By Brackett’s lights, the two most important steps to showing that you’re ready to move up are, first, replacing yourself and, second, acting like a leader.

On that first point, Brackett advises, “Go to someone who wants the job you have now, and help him or her get it.” Training someone else how to do what you do seems risky, so people usually don’t. That’s a mistake. In her consulting work inside companies, Brackett has noticed that “the most common, and least talked-about, reason why a great performer doesn’t get promoted is that his or her boss is worried about finding a replacement. So provide one. You want to create a situation where, if and when you do move up, someone is ready to step into your shoes. That way, your boss can still meet his or her goals without a hiccup.”

Teaching someone else your job may be mostly a matter of passing along “hard” technical skills, but showing your leadership potential is all about the “soft” kind. “Look around and see how you might be able to help others get what they want,” Brackett suggests. “At the same time, be curious. Ask for lots of coworkers’ insights and opinions–’I’d love to get your thoughts on X’, for instance, or ‘Just wondering what you think of Y.’” Why? “People will follow a leader who cares about their ideas, and who’s approachable,” Brackett says.

You might also be able to “increase your influence,” she adds, by “starting a project that plugs a hole in the company, without being asked to do it. Look for something that fills a need and volunteer to come up with a solution.” Besides fixing a particular problem (maybe even one that’s been bugging you for a while), doing this “builds your power base, because people will join in when they see your project taking off.” Keep everyone who’s involved, or who might be interested, informed on how it’s going–Brackett suggests weekly email updates–and don’t forget to give other people credit and praise their efforts where it’s due.

Another idea: Sign up for whatever leadership training your employer offers, or take courses elsewhere and let your boss know. “This shows you’re someone who wants to grow,” says Brackett.

But let’s suppose you spend six months or a year doing all of these things and you still don’t get promoted. Then it’s probably the moment to think about whether “your values and your goals align with your company’s, or whether you really might be able to find a better fit somewhere else,” Brackett says. The beautiful part of putting in the time and effort to hone your leadership chops, she adds, is that “even if you end up leaving to go to a different company, you’ll have a stronger r?sum?, and better stories to tell in job interviews, than you have right now.”

In other words: You can’t lose.

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Boeing CEO to Paris Air Show Crowd: There’s ‘Still No Timetable’ for 737 Max Return

The Paris Air Show, which kicked off today, is an event to talk deals, crow about new orders and show off new aircraft designs, particularly as the buzz around electrification and hybrid-electric intensifies. But the focus on Day One was squarely on Boeing and the state of its downed 737 MAX airliners with a contrite CEO Dennis Muilenburg telling journalists there’s still no timetable for the aircraft to take to the skies.

The company has the difficult task of pitching a 737 MAX future even as global regulators and air-safety inspectors keep the plane on the ground for the foreseeable future in the wake of a pair of deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the Federal Aviation Administration was nearing a decision to begin flight trials, but company officials declined to discuss whether that means the long wait could be coming to an end. Instead, there were more apologies than promises coming out of Boeing executives Monday morning at the world’s largest air show.

“This is the most trying of times,” Boeing commercial airplanes CEO Kevin McAllister told reporters, according to Reuters. “But without a doubt this is a pivotal moment for all of us. It’s a time to capture learnings. It’s a time to be introspective. And it’s a time for us to make sure accidents like this never happen again.”

Separately, Muilenburg told reporters, Boeing will get MAX “back up in the air when it’s safe. That’s the most important thing.” With so many regulatory checks, there’s growing talk that eventual return of the MAX will be a phased one, market by market, carrier by carrier.

Going into the biennial show, analysts were focusing on the news flow around the lucrative market for narrow-body, long-range aircrafts. Airbus stole the early thunder, announcing Monday morning its new A321XLR, which packs a range of 4,700 nautical miles – think Paris to Denver – and a 30% reduction in fuel burn, will debut in 2023. Air Lease Corp. announced it would buy 27 A321XLR’s, part of a 100-aircraft deal.

Analysts were hoping to hear more about Boeing’s answer to the A321XLR, but none were forthcoming on Day One. The pre-Paris buzz was that Boeing would have a narrowbody long-haul market entrant ready for 2025. But with the MAX fallout dominating executives and engineers, hopes are fading on that timeline.

In an interview with Aviation Week on the eve of the Paris Air Show, Muilenburg said the MAX remains at the core of the company’s future, even if the near-term situation is very much up in the air.

“We’re projecting demand for 44,000 new commercial airplanes over the next 20 years, and the majority of that is in the narrowbody space,” he told the publication. “The MAX will be a very important part of that for decades to come –we’ve got about 4,400 MAXs in backlog. The MAX is our narrowbody product for the future.”

Boeing has over 500 MAX aircraft grounded at airports and its own facilities. It also has over 4,400 orders in backlog to deliver new MAX aircraft, all of which are in limbo until the aircraft gets approved for takeoff.

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Pfizer Betting Big on Cancer Research in $11.4 Billion Acquisition of Array BioPharma

Pfizer is delving deeper into cancer research with a roughly $11.4 billion deal for Array BioPharma, a drug developer that has seen its shares soar since announcing positive clinical trial results earlier this spring.

Pfizer said Monday it will pay $48 per share in cash for Array, whose product portfolio includes a treatment combination used for advanced skin cancer that is being tested in other cancers as well.

The company said last month that its combination of the drugs Braftovi and Mektovi along with another treatment led to a significant improvement in overall survival in late-stage testing for some patients with colorectal cancer. The company plans to submit results from that study to U.S. regulators for approval later this year.

Array’s share price has jumped 41 percent since late May and more than doubled so far this year. Pfizer’s offer of $48 per share represents a premium of 62 percent to the stock’s closing price of $29.59 on Friday.

Shares of Boulder, Colorado-based Array BioPharma Inc. surged 60 percent before Monday’s opening bell.

New York-based Pfizer Inc., which makes the breast cancer drug Ibrance and the blood thinner Eliquis, said the boards of both companies have approved the deal. It will finance the deal with debt and cash, and it expects the transaction to add to earnings per share starting in 2022.

Pfizer, the biggest U.S. drugmaker by revenue, has had several drug approvals in the U.S. or elsewhere so far this year. But it also saw a heavily touted pain drug flop in late-stage clinical testing, placing the drug’s future in doubt.

Pfizer shares edged down 5 cents to $42.70 in premarket trading.

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What the Supreme Court’s Double Jeopardy Decision Means for Trump

The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that a state and the federal government can press separate prosecutions over the same conduct, ruling in a case that might have extended the impact of President Donald Trump’s pardon power.

The justices, voting 7-2, left intact the “separate sovereigns” doctrine, a decades-old rule that limits the scope of the constitutional ban on double jeopardy. Elimination of the separate-sovereigns rule would have meant that a presidential pardon might block some state charges as well.

The case was being watched for any possible impact on Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman. Manafort has been sentenced to a total of 7 1/2 years in prison in two federal cases, and he is now facing New York state charges for residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records.

Trump hasn’t ruled out a pardon of Manafort, though he said March 13 it’s “not something on my mind.”

The case before the court involved Terance Gamble, who said his constitutional rights were violated when he was charged under both Alabama and federal law for possessing a gun as a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty to the state charges, then sought to have his federal indictment dismissed.

‘Not An Exception’

The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment says that no one shall “be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” The separate-sovereigns doctrine is often considered an exception to the double-jeopardy clause.

Writing for the court Monday, Justice Samuel Alito said the separate-sovereigns rule “is not an exception at all” but instead “follows from the text that defines that right in the first place.”

“An ‘offence’ is defined by a law, and each law is defined by a sovereign,” Alito wrote. “So where there are two sovereigns, there are two laws, and two ‘offences.'”

An unusual pairing of justices, liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg and conservative Neil Gorsuch, dissented. Justice Clarence Thomas, who in 2016 called for reexamination of the doctrine, said in a concurring opinion that his views had shifted.

“I agree that the historical record does not bear out my initial skepticism of the dual-sovereignty doctrine,” Thomas wrote.

In recent decades, federal prosecutors have invoked the separate-sovereigns doctrine to press civil rights charges against people who have already faced state criminal charges. In 1993, a federal jury found two Los Angeles police officers guilty in the beating of Rodney King even though they had already been acquitted of state charges.

The case is Gamble v. United States, 17-646.

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Comcast Will Let You Change The Channel With Your Eyes

Comcast is expanding options for customers with physical disabilities, launching a new feature Monday that will allow its Xfinity X1 customers to change channels using only their eyes.

The feature will be especially useful for customers with spinal cord injuries and ALS, who use eye tracking equipment to help navigate their lives in other ways. They’ll also be able to set recordings and search for a show using the feature.

“Changing the channel on a TV is something most of us take for granted but until now, it was a near-impossible task for millions of viewers,” said Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast’s vice president of accessibility in a statement. “When you make a product more inclusive you create a better experience for everyone and we’re hoping our new X1 feature makes a real difference in the lives of our customers.”

It’s a fairly unique move for the company. Competitors, such as Time Warner Cable, offer voice commands and large button remotes, but few (if any) offer eye searching.

48 million people in the U.S. currently live with physical or mobility disabilities. Comcast’s eye-control technology will be compatible with existing eye gaze hardware and software, as well as “Sip-and-Puff switches and other assistive technologies.”

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Beyond Meat’s Next Product Will Be ‘Ground Beef’

Beyond Meat is moving beyond burgers and sausages.

The company has announced it will introduce a new ground beef substitute, called “Beyond Beef” next Monday, June 24. The plant-based product will reportedly marbleize and tenderize just like the traditional kind. It will be carried in major grocery chains including Wegman’s, Whole Foods and select Kroger stores.

The new product is a departure from the pre-formed patties and sausages the company has historically distributed, in that it allows consumers to use Beyond’s products in a wide range of home recipes, from meatballs to tacos to bolognese sauce.

Sold in one pound packages, Beyond Beef is made of a mix of pea, mung bean and rice. The company says it still has the meat-like consistency that has made the burgers a hit with consumers.


The new product comes roughly a week after Beyond Meat introduced a new patty that featured the same marbleization effect.

Beyond Meat went public last month, with the best debut of 2019. The company’s product have been embraced by a variety of restaurant chains, eager to capture consumer excitement for a healthy burger alternative that doesn’t sacrifice taste or texture. (Arby’s has been a notable exception.)

Fred Meyer, HEB, King Soopers, Mariano’s, Ralph’s, ShopRite and Safeway locations in Northern California will also carry Beyond Beef.

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Gloria Vanderbilt, Heiress, Designer, and Artist, Dies at 95

Gloria Vanderbilt, the intrepid heiress, artist and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the “poor little rich girl” of the Great Depression, survived family tragedy and multiple marriages and reigned during the 1970s and ’80s as a designer jeans pioneer, died Monday at the age of 95.

Vanderbilt, the great-great-granddaughter of financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and the mother of CNN newsman Anderson Cooper, who announced her death via a first-person obituary that aired on the network Monday morning.

Cooper confirmed said Vanderbilt died at home with friends and family at her side. She had been suffering from advanced stomach cancer, he noted.

“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a statement. “She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they’d tell you, she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest, and most modern.”

Her life was chronicled in sensational headlines from her childhood through four marriages and three divorces. She married for the first time at 17, causing her aunt to disinherit her. Her husbands included Leopold Stokowski, the celebrated conductor, and Sidney Lumet, the award-winning movie and television director. In 1988, she witnessed the suicide of one of her four sons.

Vanderbilt was a talented painter and collagist who also acted on the stage (“The Time of Your Life” on Broadway) and television (“Playhouse 90,” ?Studio One,” ?Kraft Theater,” ?U.S. Steel Hour”). She was a fabric designer who became an early enthusiast for designer denim. The dark-haired, tall and ultra-thin Vanderbilt partnered with Mohan Murjani, who introduced a $1 million advertising campaign in 1978 that turned the Gloria Vanderbilt brand with its signature white swan label into a sensation.

At its peak in 1980, it was generating over $200 million in sales. And decades later, famous-name designer jeans — dressed up or down — remain a woman’s wardrobe staple.

Vanderbilt wrote several books, including the 2004 chronicle of her love life: “It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir,” which drops such names as Errol Flynn, whom she dated as a teenager; Frank Sinatra, for whom she left Stokowski; Marlon Brando and Howard Hughes.

She claimed her only happy marriage was to author Wyatt Cooper, which ended with his death in 1978 at age 50. Son Anderson Cooper called her memoir “a terrific book; it’s like an older ‘Sex and the City.'”

“I’ve had many, many loves,” Vanderbilt told The Associated Press in a 2004 interview. “I always feel that something wonderful is going to happen. And it always does.”

Noting her father’s death when she was a toddler, she said: “If you don’t have a father, you don’t miss it, because you don’t know what it is. It was really only when I married Wyatt Cooper that I understood what it was like to have a father, because he was just an extraordinary father.”

In 2016, Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper appeared together in the HBO documentary “Nothing Left Unsaid.”

Gloria Laura Madeleine Sophie Vanderbilt was born in 1924, a century after her great-great-grandfather started the family fortune, first in steamships, later in railroads. He left around $100 million when he died in 1877 at age 82.

Her father, Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, was 43, a gambler and boozer dying of liver disease when he married Gloria Morgan, 19, in 1923. Their daughter was 1 when Vanderbilt died in 1925, having gone through $25 million in 14 years.

Beneficiary of a $5 million trust fund, Vanderbilt became the “poor little rich girl” in 1934 at age 10 as the object of a custody fight between her globe-trotting mother and matriarchal aunt.

The aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 59, who controlled $78 million and founded the Whitney Museum of American Art, won custody of her niece.

A shocked judge had closed the trial when a maid accused the child’s mother of a lesbian affair with a member of the British royal family. The fight was chronicled in the best-selling 1980 book “Little Gloria … Happy at Last,” made into a TV miniseries in 1982 with Angela Lansbury playing Whitney.

After spending the next seven years on her aunt’s Long Island estate, Vanderbilt went to Hollywood. She dated celebrities and declared she would marry Hughes. Instead, the 17-year-old wed Hughes’ press agent, Pasquale di Cicco, prompting her aunt to cut Gloria out of her will.

Vanderbilt came into her own $5 million trust fund in 1945 at age 21. She also divorced Di Cicco, whom she said had beaten her often, and the next day married the 63-year-old Stokowski. The marriage to the conductor lasted 10 years and produced two sons, Stanislaus and Christopher.

After her marriage broke up, Vanderbilt found herself embroiled in another custody case, this time as the mother. During the closed hearings, Stokowski accused Vanderbilt of spending too much time at parties and too little with the boys. She accused him of tyrannizing his sons and said he really was 85, and not 72 as he claimed.

Justice Edgar Nathan Jr. gave Vanderbilt full-time custody. But he commented that the court had wasted a month on “the resolution of problems which mature, intelligent parents should be able to work out for themselves.”

Vanderbilt married Lumet in 1956 and lived with him and her children in a 10-room duplex penthouse on Gracie Square. She divorced Lumet and married Cooper in 1963.

Their elder son, Carter, a Princeton graduate and editor at American Heritage, killed himself in 1988 at age 23, leaping from his mother’s 14th floor apartment as she tried to stop him. Police said he had been treated for depression and friends said he was despondent over a break-up with a girlfriend.

After her success in designer jeans, Vanderbilt branched out into other areas, including shoes, scarves, table and bed linens, and china, through her company, Gloria Concepts. In 1988 Vanderbilt joined the designer fragrance market with her signature “Glorious.”

By the late 1980s, Vanderbilt sold the name and licenses for the brand name “Gloria Vanderbilt” to Gitano, who transferred it to a group of private investors in 1993. More recently, her stretch jeans have been licensed through Jones Apparel Group Inc., which acquired Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Corp. in 2002 for $138 million.

Vanderbilt became the target of a swindle in the late 1970s and early ’80s when she made her psychiatrist and a lawyer associates in her business affairs. A court held that the two had looted millions from Vanderbilt’s bank accounts.

Vanderbilt also made headlines in 1980 when she filed, but later dropped, a discrimination complaint against the posh River House apartments, which had rejected her bid to buy a $1.1 million duplex. She claimed the board was worried that black singer Bobby Short, who appeared with her on TV commercials, might marry her.

In 2009, the 85-year-old Vanderbilt penned a new novel, “Obsession: An Erotic Tale,” a graphic tale about an architect’s widow who discovers a cache of her husband’s letters that reveal his secret sex life.

In an interview with The New York Times, she said she wasn’t embarrassed about the explicitness of her new book, saying: “I don’t think age has anything to do with what you write about. The only thing that would embarrass me is bad writing, and the only thing that really concerned me was my children. You know how children can be about their parents. But mine are very intelligent and supportive.”