Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Loeb Acquires Sotheby's Shares ; Firm of Fund Manager Known for Activism Vows 'Dialogue' with Board

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Loeb Acquires Sotheby's Shares ; Firm of Fund Manager Known for Activism Vows 'Dialogue' with Board

Article excerpt

The combattive hedge fund manager, who has recently waged battles with Yahoo and Sony, has not said what he intends to do.

The activist investor Daniel S. Loeb has announced acquiring a large stake in the auction house Sotheby's, sending its shares up 3 percent.

Mr. Loeb's hedge fund, Third Point, is now one of Sotheby's biggest shareholders, with a 5.7 percent stake, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Third Point and two other funds, Trian Partners and Marcato Capital Management, are among the auction company's top shareholders.

Third Point said Monday that it planned to "engage in a dialogue" with the board at Sotheby's.

Mr. Loeb is a prominent art collector, and the walls of his Park Avenue office are covered with paintings. In the business arena, he is better known for his combative style and penchant for boardroom battles. He typically increases his stake in a company with the intention of instigating change at the top. He is known for directing sharp invective at corporate executives.

One of Mr. Loeb's well-publicized boardroom brawls was with Yahoo in 2011. After disclosing a large stake in the company, Mr. Loeb called it "undervalued" and submitted a list of what he called "all star" candidates to replace some of the directors. The board rejected the proposal and instead hired a new chief executive, Scott Thompson, whom Mr. Loeb promptly accused of faking his credentials. Mr. Thompson was fired and the directors gave Mr. Loeb three seats on the board.

More recently, Mr. Loeb has demonstrated a more conciliatory approach to dealing with management. …

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