Next week will be a big turning point in the Sotheby’s board fight as the two sides square off in a Delaware court to determine whether Sotheby’s poison pill will stay at full strength. A subsidiary question is whether the judge will postpone the vote based upon his ruling on the poison pill.
In preparation, the New York Times ran a catch story today that really doesn’t offer much in the way of insight. And then there’s this strange bit of reporting. Which employees did Loeb contact? Tobias Meyer? Who was he promoting as potential new CEOs? In his now-famous letter, Loeb wrote that he had identified two internal candidates for the job.
In Sotheby’s view, Mr. Loeb has disrupted its business for months by contacting major employees and positioning himself as their new boss, while also suggesting that prominent art world figures consider becoming the auction house’s chief executive.
Then there’s this stuff about the building which contradicts most of the other reporting about the company’s own initiative to sell the building (which is quite valuable because of the hospital complex next door):
In the fall, he met with Jeff T. Blau, chief executive of the Related Companies, to discuss a possible move to Related’s Hudson Yards complex or the Time Warner Center, according to people briefed on the matter.
Company officials have also complained that Mr. Loeb has sometimes misunderstood the business. Moving Sotheby’s out of its current headquarters, for example, would make life difficult, given how customized it already is for the auction house.
Bare Knuckles at Sotheby’s Auction House (Dealbook/NYTimes)