Aubrey McClendon, multi-billionaire chief executive of Chesapeake Energy and a prominent Duke donor, may be auctioning off 9,000 bottles of wine to curb his recent losses. According to The Wall Street Journal's Wealth Report, people familiar with the auction say McClendon will in fact be the anonymous seller at the Sotheby-hosted event. The auction is called "Classic Cellar from a Great American Collector" and will be hosted this March and April:
Mr. McClendon is one of the top wine collectors in the country, known for his love of Burgundy and Bordeaux. He also is known for his cash crunch. Last fall, he was forced to sell 94% of his stake in Chesapeake to pay back margin loans. Mr. McClendon’s stake once was valued at more than $2 billion. So it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to want to liquidate some of his, er, liquid assets.
McClendon's previous losses are a concern for the University, which has benefited from $16 million in donations from him and his wife, both who are Duke alums, Duke officials have said. McClendon has provided funds to build the McClendon Tower and West Campus Plaza, as well as bring in an organ for the Divinity School's Goodson Chapel and refurbish one of the Chapel's organs.
Sotheby's sale won't make up for the $1.4 billion McClendon lost on the sale of his stocks, but The Journal reports that it'll help, even if relatively little:
Sotheby’s says it expects the sale to fetch at least $5 million–not much for a former billionaire, but these days every little million helps.
Updated 7:54 p.m.