Sotheby’s Board Knows Even Less About Engaging With A Shareholder Than It Does About Contemporary Art: Third PointBy Bess Levin
As many of you well know, hedge fund manager Dan Loeb is famous for telling people how he really feels, occasionally via Bloomberg header but most often by good old-fashioned letter. Typically, the people on the receiving end of Loeb’s thoughts comprise the management of the companies his firm Third Point has amassed a stake in, and is attempting to oust. Over the years, CEOs and board members from Yahoo! to Sony to Nabi Biopharmaceuticals have received their own personalized missives, all of which have been classic Loeb: that potent, poetic blend of sarcasm, self-regard, belittling attacks on competence and a lengthy list of prescriptions for change. Yesterday, he added a new piece to the canon.
Let’s rewind for a moment.
A few months back, Loeb bought some shares in a company that he knows very well, auction house Sotheby’s, where he sold a large egg not too long ago. Given his long relationship with the company, Loeb thought he’d let that little bombshell sink in for a while, in hopes that the ignorami running Sotheby’s into the ground would come to their senses. Sadly, Team Sotheby’s, led by Chairman and CEO William Ruprecht, did not, and that left Loeb with no choice but to pick up his pen and get down to business. The result is a contemporary masterpiece. Read more »
A good rule of thumb is never to reason from an acronym but here’s this Bloomberg article about how Dan Loeb’s Third Point Reinsurance is making use of the JOBS Act in its IPO even though it creates no JOBS in America so hahaha irony. It’s not entirely clear what Third Point Re is doing to take advantage of the JOBS Act – it filed its initial draft prospectus confidentially, and it’s being a little coy about its plans for financial disclosure and internal-control certification. Nor is it clear who is harmed by these potential omissions, or how; the main harm seems to be a devaluation of the acronym which I guess is a thing? How will we ever be able to trust an acronym again? Next you’ll tell me the PATRIOT Act is unpatriotic.1
Of course the point of the JOBS Act was not to create jobs, which you can tell because (1) it begins with the words “An Act To increase American job creation,” which is pretty suspicious, and (2) it otherwise has nothing to do with jobs, there are no requirements for employees or hiring or anything in it, it’s just the name, not even the name, the name doesn’t mention jobs, just the acronym, honestly.2 Read more »
Dan Loeb Fairly Certain His And George “Dan Loeb Is A Carpetbagger” Clooney’s Ideas About The Film Business Couldn’t Be More AlignedBy Bess Levin
As some of you may recall, early last week, hedge fund manager Dan Loeb continued his public call for Sony to dump its entertainment division, writing that it was “perplexing” that CEO Kazuo Hirai had zero sense of shame about releasing “After Earth” and “White House Down,” i.e. “2013′s versions of Waterworld and Ishtar.” The Third Point manager went on to say that that the division is “being ineffectively overseen” and that it should be someone other than Sony’s job to worry about its “troubling results.” Loeb obviously wrote the letter and demanded the changes with the belief that, as one of the company’s largest investors, he had the right to weigh in. One person who felt differently was George Clooney, who late last week took the opportunity to offer that, in his opinion, Dan Loeb doesn’t know dick about the movie industry. Clooney described Loeb as a “carpetbagger,” a fear monger, and an interloper with zero knowledge of what it takes to make good movies, whose influence would only result in the production of “tent poles” and “crap.”
So it was somewhat surprising to hear Loeb, who earlier this week received word that Sony would be declining the advice to spin off the entertainment division, say in an interview that he and GC are basically totally on the same page. Read more »
Dan Loeb’s Unsolicited Thoughts On The Movie Industry Leave George Clooney Wondering If Dan Loeb Should Be Offering His Unsolicited Thoughts On The Movie IndustryBy Bess Levin
“I’ve been reading a lot about Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business, and he is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed? When does the clock stop and start for him at Sony? Why didn’t he include Skyfall, the 007 movie that grossed a billion dollars, or Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained? And what about the rest of a year that includes Elysium, Captain Phillips, American Hustle and The Monuments Men? You can’t cherry pick a small time period and point to two films that didn’t do great…[Loeb] calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpet bagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles…To have this guy portraying it that Sony management is the bad stepchild and doesn’t know what it is doing and he’s going to fix it? That is like Walmart saying, let me fix your town, putting in their store, strangling all the small shops and getting everyone who worked in them to work for minimum wage with no health insurance. It’s crazy he has weight in this conversation at all…You want to see what happens if outside forces start to scare the industry and studios just make tent poles out of fear? You will see a lot of crap coming out.”. [Deadline]
Earlier today, a person, if a person were so inclined, could hop on his or her Bloomberg terminal, start a message to hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, and be greeted with a header that proclaimed “New HLF Product: The Herbalife Enema, Administered by Uncle Carl.” This line was an obvious reference to the figurative enema Pershing Square chief Bill Ackman has undergone at hands of the shake and supplement company and fellow money manger, Carl Icahn. After a flurry of articles pointing out Loeb’s anus-themed diss, the Third Point manager’s header was changed to “Always take the high road.” While one might quick to assume this meant Loeb had had a change of heart re: his previous statement, and had felt it’d been a less than diplomatic thing to say, doing so would make an ass of you and me. Read more »