The Wall Street Journal was at the Value Investing Conference where Marcato’s Mick McGuire was asked about his investment in Sotheby’s
“We’ve had good dialogue with the management team so far,” Mr. McGuire said in response to a question from the audience at the Value Investing Congress in Manhattan on Tuesday. “You can be sure we shared with them some fairly extensive ideas around what we think they could do.”
Perhaps McGuire discussed something other than having Sotheby’s sell assets and load up on debt to pay off activist investors with a special dividend or a stock buyback. But if that does come to pass, as McGuire’s satisfaction with Sotheby’s management’s recent public statements suggests it might, where does that leave the auction house?
Let’s remember that the art market is in particularly dynamic phase as Sotheby’s main competitor is pushing forward in online sales and direct guarantees—with all the attendant financial risk—are returning to the competitive landscape. Will a weaker balance sheet really help Sotheby’s keep up in the global competition?
Activist Investor Says He Is Encouraged by Sotheby’s Steps (Wall Street Journal)