BOSTON, April 4 Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb
on Friday urged Sotheby's investors to support his board
slate, arguing he and his fellow nominees would be better able
to reinvigorate the auction house from within after years of
Loeb's Third Point is Sotheby's biggest investor with a 9.6
percent stake. For months, it and other activist investors have
pressured the auction house to cut costs and return capital to
Calling management and the board "reactive not visionary,"
Loeb said that Third Point's demands have led to a review of
strategy and business practices, hiring of a new chief financial
officer and reconsideration of capital allocation policies.
Without "continued collaboration, progress will stall," he
The company said in a statement that "under the stewardship
of Sotheby's board and management team, Sotheby's has delivered
strong financial performance and superior shareholder returns,
outperforming all relevant indices over the past one, five and
ten year periods." The company added that it does not think Loeb
has made a case that "change is warranted at Sotheby's."
Sotheby's annual meeting is on May 6 and they can choose
between Loeb and Harry Wilson and Olivier Reza or for the
company's slate which includes John Angelo and Jessica
Loeb complained that board members do not own enough stock
in the company and thereby don't have enough skin in the game.
He said the company has failed to articulate its brand and
spends too much money, including on CEO compensation of between
$6 million and $7 million a year. The CEO's perks, including an
annual $25,000 automobile allowance and country club dues, "are
throwbacks to a bygone era," Loeb wrote.
Loeb, one of Wall Street's most closely watched investors,
last won board seats at Yahoo which allowed him to hand pick
current the current CEO and remake the company.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by David Gregorio)