How much does it cost to keep your CEO when Dan Loeb decides he’s a feckless, free-spending moron who doesn’t know the first thing about the kind of art that people like Dan Loeb like to buy? For Sotheby’s, the tab is now as follows: three board seats, putting up with Dan Loeb’s occasional presence and the odd phone call—obnoxious, to be sure, and perhaps something you wouldn’t have subjected yourself to freely, but all the same. Oh yea, and $20.1 million, a.k.a. all of the money you’ve brought in for four-and-a-half months. 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.
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 »
Third Point, Sotheby’s Thrilled To Be Working With One Another, Ready To Put “Holy Jihad,” “Scum” Comments Behind ThemBy Bess Levin
Did Third Point chief Dan Loeb recently tell friends he had a plan to “undermine the credibility” of Sotheby’s Chairman and CEO William Ruprecht? Yes. Did Ruprecht refer to Loeb as “scum”? Indeed. Are the two men going to let either of these things make Sotheby’s board meetings, at which they’ll be working together, awkward in the slightest? Of course not. Why would you think that? Read more »
Back in October, hedge fund manager Dan Loeb sent a letter William Ruprecht, to the CEO of Sotheby’s, in which he made the following points:
- Sotheby’s is completely ignorant about contemporary art
- Ruprecht is overpaid
- Sotheby’s is a joke compared to Christie’s
- In spite of all this, Sotheby’s future can be salvaged, but it’ll take firing Ruprecht and adding Loeb and a few directors of Loeb’s choice to the board
Shockingly, Sotheby’s did not appreciate the constructive criticism, and adopted a poison pill to ward off Loeb and Co. Last week, Loeb reiterated his position in an open letter to Sotheby’s shareholders, in which he underscored that, in his professional opinion, the auction house knows nothing about selling art. (He also reminded them to vote Loeb ’14 at the company’s annual meeting in May.)
Team Sotheby’s, apparently sick of Loeb’s shit, did what any corporate entity does when it’s decided its done play Mr. Nice Guy: assembled its top men and women in a conference room and declared that no one could leave until they’d come up with a 53-slide PowerPoint rebuttal.