We've got ourselves a fight ladies and gentlemen.
Sotheby's has responded to hedge fund manager Dan Loeb's call for its CEO to step down with a straight up refusal to acknowledge it at all.
Without even mentioning what Loeb said, the company called Loeb's comments 'incendiary and baseless,' in a press release and then changed the subject.
Loeb's hedge fund, Third Point Partners, upped its stake in the auction house to 9.29% this morning. And with that also came a love letter from Loeb arguing that Sotheby's CEO William Ruprecht had to go, as he saw "no evidence" that Ruprecht had the stuff to lead Sotheby's into a more Modern and Contemporary art centered world.
To keep this story short and sweet, lets just say that Sotheby's isn't having any of that. The company didn't even give Loeb an 'interesting idea, but no thanks.'
Instead it said it would rather focus on its successes in Hong Kong.
This does not sound like a company ready to surrender to an activist.
Check out their full release below:
New York, 2 October 2013 – Sotheby’s (BID) acknowledged today’s Schedule 13D filing by
Third Point LLC. Sotheby’s actions as a leader in the global art business have been producing superior
results – including a share price increase exceeding the Standard & Poor's Mid cap index over the one,
five and ten year periods. The comprehensive capital allocation review already underway
demonstrates the Company’s ongoing efforts to optimize the balance sheet, improve the cost of capital
and manage financial policies in a way that supports Sotheby's strategy and delivers outstanding value
Today, rather than debating incendiary and baseless comments, we are focused on serving our clients’ needs during this critical autumn sales season, including this week in Hong Kong, where our offerings are 77% higher than the same series last year – the highest estimate of any Sotheby’s sale in Asia. We will comment on the communication from Third Point at the appropriate time.
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