Feb 27 Activist investor Daniel Loeb said on
Thursday he would nominate himself and two others to the board
of Sotheby's Inc, piling pressure on the auctioneer to
focus more on its competitive position and management.
Loeb, whose fund Third Point LLC is the biggest investor in
Sotheby's with a 9.53 percent stake, has been pressuring the
company since October to remove its chief executive and become
more competitive against main rival Christie's.
Sotheby's said it had engaged in extensive talks with Third
Point over the past months to avoid a proxy battle and had
offered to appoint Loeb to its board.
"Sotheby's is disappointed that Third Point has chosen this
path," the company said.
In a letter to Chief Executive William Ruprecht in October,
Loeb called the auction house "an old master painting in
desperate need of restoration."
Investment firm Marcato Capital Management, which holds a
6.7 percent stake in Sotheby's, has also been pushing the
company to make changes and return $1 billion to shareholders.
Sotheby's, responding to the shareholders, said in January
it would return $450 million to investors through a special
dividend and a share buyback.
The company said it would also separate the capital
structures of its auction and private sales business from that
of its financial services business.
Loeb, in a regulatory filing on Thursday, commended
Sotheby's capital return but said "much remains to be done to
enhance the company's competitive position." ()
In a bid to provide "new perspectives" and "different
expertise" to move the company forward, Third Point said it
would nominate Harry Wilson, Olivier Reza and Loeb for election
at the company's 2014 annual meeting.
Harry Wilson is chairman and chief executive of boutique
restructuring firm MAEVA Group LLC and was previously a senior
adviser to the U.S. Treasury Department, Third Point said.
Olivier Reza is the lead designer and head of the House of
Alexandre Reza, a luxury jeweler based in Paris.
Sotheby's shares were down 0.6 percent at $50.19 in midday
trading. They touched a year high of $51.16 earlier in the