Loeb Pushes Sotheby’s Nominees

Apr 23 2014 | 10:12am ET

Third Point’s Daniel Loeb has won some backing in his battle with Sotheby’s—and is seeking more.

The activist hedge fund manager sent a letter to the auction house’s shareholders, urging them to vote for him and two other Third Point nominees to the Sotheby’s board.

“We are convinced that having an owner’s perspective in the boardroom yields better results, that this board is in dire need of fresh insights, and that our candidates are more qualified that the company’s emissaries we are seeking to replace,” Loeb wrote. “We are confident that adding three shareholder voices to this 12-person board will do more to improve Sotheby’s long-term growth and increase its share price than would rubber-stamping the company’s latest set of hand-picked nominees.”

Third Point can count on the backing of fellow hedge fund Marcato Capital Management, its founder reiterated yesterday.

“We are voting for Third Point’s directors,” Mick Marcato told the IMN Active-Passive Investor conference. Between them, the two hedge funds own 16% of Sotheby’s shares.

Loeb has spent months blasting Sotheby's board and CEO, William Ruprecht, whom he says has a “lack of leadership and strategic vision.” The Third Point chief has pointed to what he calls Sotheby’s “chronically weak operating margins” and “entrenched” board in his calls for change.

Sotheby’s has said Loeb and his fellow nominees would add nothing to the board.

Sotheby’s annual meeting is on May 6.

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