Bill Ruprecht issued a statement this morning that roughly translates as we’ll try to come up with some money for dividend or share buyback. The statement, of course, is a response to investments by Nelson Peltz, Daniel Loeb and Mike McGuire, three well-known and vocal investors:
As a practice, management and the Board have consistently focused on building long-lasting value for our shareholders and a platform to grow the business in a challenging and ever-evolving marketplace. As we have disclosed in the past, we continue to evaluate return of capital strategies, including potential share repurchases and/or an increase in dividends, while balancing the need to invest in the future of the Company and the Sotheby’s brand to strengthen our competitive position and improve the unique services we provide to our clients.
In that context, our assessment will take into account some key considerations including, but not limited to, the potential use of incremental debt to fund segments of our operations, the Company’s credit rating, ongoing funding requirements for certain strategic initiatives both announced and contemplated, the value of our real estate properties and our unique premises requirements, and the potential tax implications of any of the actions we are considering.
Each of these options present possible advantages and disadvantages; all are complex. We are determined to fully exploring every avenue and we are committed to pursuing return of capital alternatives.
Sotheby’s is committed to healthy two-way communication with our shareholders as we pursue our common goal of a strong, growing, competitive Sotheby’s open to new opportunities. As this examination progresses we will continue to reach out to our investors for further discussions about this important work.