Daniel Loeb Shoots Back That Sotheby’s Really Needs His Intervention

A graphic on Third Point's new Value of Sotheby's website illustrating Daniel Loeb's inflammatory claim that the auction house is “like an old master painting in desperate need of restoration.”

As expected, Daniel Loeb has been quick to respond to the Sotheby’s slide presentation that refuted the need for any shareholder intervention on behalf of Loeb, who owns 9.6 percent of the company through his hedge fund Third Point.

On a newly launched website, valueofsothebys.com, Loeb and Third Point offer their own assessment of Sothbey’s, citing lower net revenue, higher expenses, and a lack of online strategy, among other problems. The site also calls the contentious “poison pill” provision that prevents Third Point from buying additional shares in the company “a relic of the 1980s.”

According to Third Point, board nominees Loeb, Harry J. Wilson, and Olivier Reza “possess expertise in corporate turnarounds, value creation at iconic companies, refocusing businesses around the customer experience, and art collecting and connoisseurship.”

This rebuts Sotheby’s accusations that they would offer “no incremental relevant expertise to your board.” In fact, argues Third Point, “our Shareholder Slate is focused on opportunities for value creation while Sotheby’s Board seems focused on the status quo, lacking expense discipline, innovation, and a vision for tomorrow’s customer.”

The website makes no response to Sotheby’s assertions that Loeb has a history of joining board of directors for short periods of time during which corporations generally underperform. Nor does it acknowledge the charge that Loeb’s interference at these companies has been “self interested,” or that Loeb threatened a takeover at Yahoo in order to force the struggling internet giant to buy back his shares at a premium, a practice known as greenmail.

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