The past few months have been tough for Sotheby’s stock. The resolution of the company’s fight with activist investor Dan Loeb left the auction house’s stock walking a knife’s edge, the crucial $40 floor/ceiling price for the stock. When Sotheby’s trades above $40, the price acts as a floor bringing in buyers if it falls too low. But once the stock is below $40, the price acts as a ceiling with investors selling every time the price approaches the magic $40 number.
Sotheby’s successful Impressionist and Modern sale briefly shot the stock through the $40 ceiling. But an overall lack of momentum and a broader market downdraft pulled the stock back under the price barrier.
Bloomberg is giving Dan Loeb credit for today’s move with eBay. That hardly seems fair to Sotheby’s management. After all, there’s plenty of history between eBay and Sotheby’s—not all of it good.
eBay advisor, Josh Baer, won’t comment on the negotiations but a deal like this would have taken a fair bit more time arrange than two months since the board fight was resolved.
Today, the market is up and Sotheby’s (BID) is up even more, rising more than 1% on the eBay news. Time will tell whether buyers will come in the next time BID flirts with the $40 floor but the eBay arrangement gives them something more than hope to build upon.