Dealbook has excerpts from Daniel Loeb’s strongly worded letter to Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht. Loeb’s comments suggest he may be looking for more than just a payout from the company:
In a carefully worded reprimand, Mr. Loeb outlined what he called “chronically weak operating margins and deteriorating competitive position relative to Christie’s” — Sotheby’s main rival — and said he was not persuaded by management’s explanation for lower market share relative to Christie’s.
Mr. Loeb, who is a prominent art collector, is agitating for change at the top of the company, contending that a “crisis of management” has created “dysfunctional divisions and a fractured culture.” […]
Two weeks after Third Point’s disclosure, the company announced it would review its financial policies and would consider a share repurchase or increasing its dividend. In a statement, Mr. Ruprecht said, “All are complex.”
This was not enough for Mr. Loeb, it would appear. On Wednesday, he called the response a “belated announcement partially addressing poor capital allocation practices.”
“Sotheby’s malaise is a result of a lack of leadership and strategic vision at its highest levels,” he said. Mr. Loeb also attacked Mr. Ruprecht’s pay package, $6.3 million in salary in 2012, and limited stock holdings, adding that it had created a misalignment with shareholders.
Loeb Raises Stake in Sotheby’s and Seeks Board Seat (Dealbook/NYTimes)
Third Point Letter to Sotheby’s (Entire letter in downloadable pdf form here)