April 9 Sotheby's on Tuesday published a
53-page slide deck in its defense against hedge fund manager
Daniel Loeb, who has been trying to force his way onto the board
of the auction house.
Sotheby's said Loeb, whose Third Point LLC is the biggest
investor in the company with a 9.6 percent stake, and his
nominees would add "no incremental, relevant skills, experience
or expertise" to the company's board, according to a regulatory
The auction house's aggressive response comes after Loeb
last week urged investors to support his board slate, arguing he
and his fellow nominees would be better able to reinvigorate the
company from within after years of poor governance.
Third Point and other activist investors have for months
pressured Sotheby's to cut costs and return capital to
shareholders. In February, Loeb nominated three directors --
Harry Wilson, Olivier Reza and himself, to the company's board.
Sotheby's on Tuesday refuted Loeb's claims of poor
management and further attacked him by saying that shares of the
companies he was on the board of in the past, had underperformed
"Loeb's board experience highlights the short-term nature of
his representation of shareholders as a director," Sotheby's
wrote in the deck, highlighting Loeb's less than 2-year tenure
on the boards of six companies.
Sotheby's also accused Loeb of "greenmailing" Yahoo Inc
during his 14-month stint on the company's board.
In May 2012, Loeb won board seats at Yahoo that allowed him
to hand pick the current CEO and remake the company. Last July
he reached an agreement to sell two-thirds of its stake in Yahoo
back to the company, pocketing a tidy profit and relinquishing
three seats on the board of a company trying to effect a tricky
Loeb last month sued Sotheby's to remove poison pill
restrictions that block the hedge fund from acquiring up to 20
percent of the auction house's stock.
Sotheby's annual meeting is on May 6.
(Reporting by Arnab Sen in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar