Sotheby’s tale with activist investor Daniel Loeb continues

Sotheby’s tale with activist investor Daniel Loeb continues: after the disputes of the past months, the auction house has offered him a seat on its board of directors. Loeb, unsurprisingly, isn’t satisfied with Sotheby’s offer and said he wants three directors from his company appointed to the board.

Bloomberg reported that:

“I’ve told them I would be willing to work with them if they put us on the board,” Loeb said today in a telephone interview. “My hope is that we put our differences behind us and work constructively with this board and with the CEO.”

Loeb’s $14 billion New York-based hedge-fund firm had called on Ruprecht to resign in October, criticizing the company’s executive compensation, internal operations and “deteriorating”competitive position versus Christie’s International Plc. Third Point, the largest shareholder of Sotheby’s with a 9.5 percent stake as of Feb. 26, plans to name Loeb, Harry Wilson, who helped restructure General Motors Co., and jewelry designer Olivier Reza to the board, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“No one’s holding management accountable to formulating a strategy that will make them competitive with Christie’s,” Loeb said in the interview. “It’s more about holding them to the task of putting the right people in the right places to getting the job done.”

Sotheby’s said in a statement today that it offered to appoint Loeb to its board. The New York-based auction house said it’s disappointed Loeb has “chosen this path” of nominating three directors.

Sotheby’s last month said it would pay a $300 million special dividend, adding that it may sell real estate to hand back more cash to shareholders.

Older posts from my blog:

Sotheby’s announced the results of the Company’s capital allocation and financial policies review

After 20 years, Tobias Meyer will leave Sotheby’s. Another effect of Dan Loeb’s storm?


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