Pyridine-catalyzed addition of diaryl-1,2-diones to dimethyl butynedioate leading to the formation of 1,2-diaroyl dimethyl maleates via an unprecedented rearrangement.

[reaction: see text] Pyridine catalyzes the reaction of 1,2-diaryl diones with dimethyl butynedioate to afford diaroyl maleates. This unprecedented rearrangement involves a unique benzoyl migration and proceeds with complete stereoselectivity.