With just over a week to go before votes are due in his proxy contest with Sotheby’s, Third Point’s Daniel Loeb got some mixed endorsement news.
Institutional Shareholder Services, arguably the most influential proxy adviser, urged the auction house’s shareholders to vote for the Third Point founder and one of its other nominees, jewelry magnate Olivier Reza. But ISS withheld its endorsement from Third Point’s third nominee, Harry Wilson.
Another proxy advisory, Glass Lewis & Co., agreed that shareholders shouldn’t put Wilson on the board. But it doesn’t want to see Loeb or Reza elected, either.
Glass Lewis said that Loeb had “identified certain areas of concern, but ultimately has fallen short of making a compelling case that additional changes in the boardroom are warranted at this time.”
ISS disagreed. “It is difficult to believe this is a board keenly attentive to all the opportunities at hand to enhance shareholder value,” the firm wrote, echoing, albeit diplomatically, Loeb’s attacks on what he calls an entrenched board responsible for Sotheby’s “chronically weak operating margins.”
Sotheby’s annual meeting is on May 6. The company reiterated yesterday that Loeb and his fellow nominees would add no “relevant expertise” to the board.
Third Point owns 9.6% of Sotheby’s, and is backed by fellow hedge fund Marcato Capital Management, which owns a 6.6% stake.