Dan Loeb

Dan LoebDow Chemical’s management team are “going to be great listeners” to ideas from shareholders on improving the company’s performance, its chief executive Andrew Liveris has promised. Speaking as the company reported better than expected earnings for the third quarter, Mr Liveris said on Wednesday that he had been continuing to speak with Dan Loeb of Third Point Capital and other shareholders about how to raise Dow’s share price…Third Point, an activist hedge fund, in January revealed it had taken a stake in Dow and called for the group to be broken up, saying it “woefully underperformed” over the past decade…On Wednesday Mr Liveris denied that he had an “adversarial” relationship with Mr Loeb or other investors, and promised to listen to their analysis, but said he sometimes had to point out to them where they were wrong. [FT]

As those of you familiar with the career of Daniel S. Loeb know, the hedge fund manager makes a nice chunk of change each year through activist investing. While the boards of most public companies view activist investors in general as people who show up to their home uninvited, take a shit on their staircase and then demand to know how anyone in good conscience could live in such squalor, to view Loeb as just one of many would be like lumping Pavarotti together with a bunch of glee club dropouts.

The man, quite simply, has elevated the art of activist investing, through his trademark letters (all of which include a potent, poetic blend of sarcasm, self-regard, belittling attacks on management competence, and lengthy prescriptions for change) and delightful flourishes like tasking his best researchers with uncovering damning details about the objects of his wrath, like, for instance, that they lied about their college majors. Anyone who has watched him at work will agree: he is an artist.

And now, he’s got even more money than usual to spend on fieldwork, correspondence, and possibly skywriters who will be paid to leave a fluffy white “Just Quit Already” above various chief executives’ homes and offices. Read more »

Dan Loeb Would Like That $1.4 Billion Back

Remember, back in October, when Dan Loeb announced that Third Point would be returning about 10% of the $14 billion it had, to “moderate” its growth or something? Well, that may have moderated things a little too much, and even though Third Point’s fat 6% return has it managing $15 billion seven months later after cutting those checks, Loeb is feeling inspired to write a few more letters, and needs a few more bucks to do so. Read more »

The Third Point chief then:

Sotheby’s malaise is a result of a lack of leadership and strategic vision at its highest levels…Sotheby’s requires a CEO with sufficient knowledge of the global art markets to make critical decisions, who can move seamlessly around the globe building the business and strengthening client relationships. Respectfully, we do not see evidence that you are the right person to repair the Company and drive its growth in today’s dynamic global art market.

And now: Read more »

Dan Loeb Loses For Winning For Losing

Dan Loeb is probably feeling pretty good about himself right now. He made $700 million last year, a year in which his hedge funds were up 25%. And while his Dow foray hasn’t panned out quite yet, he managed to snag victory—total, unconditional, here’s a $10 million check for your troubles victory—from the jaws of (Delaware Chancery Court) defeat.

So the $5.7 million or so Sotheby’s spent winning that case only to completely capitulate three days later didn’t do it any good. But it certainly looks likely to not be so great for newly-minted Sotheby’s directors and other such activist investors. Read more »

Remember when Third Point manager Dan Loeb told auction house Sotheby’s that it didn’t know dick about contemporary art? And demanded its chairman and CEO, William Ruprecht do the honorable thing and fire himself? And noted that Sotheby’s management in general was a joke? And (“jokingly”) described his campaign to “undermine the credibility” of Ruprecth as a “holy Jihad“? Now that the two sides have made nice– and Sotheby’s has given Third Point three spots on its board–, the auctioneers are going to compensate the Maestro of Mockery for his troubles. Read more »

For the most part, 2013 was not kind to Steve Cohen. The Feds put his balls in a jar and put that jar on Preet Bharara’s desk. One of his ex-employees went to trial for (and was later found guilty of) masterminding the “most lucrative insider trading scheme ever.” Other former traders helped bring the number of SAC alums indicted on securities fraud charges to nine. His genius idea to give out free hot dogs on the front lawn of SAC HQ failed to prevent a number of departures. He lost his biggest fan. For a lot of hedge fund managers, all of this would add up to moping around the office and turning in less than stellar work. For Steve Cohen, it meant turning up the Styx and getting down to business. Read more »