Auction house Sothebys (NYSE:BID) continues to fight activist shareholder Dan Loeb with every tool at its disposal, including an investor presentation with a scathing personal attack denouncing Loeb and his “slash and burn” investing style. The investor presentation pulled no punches, slamming Loeb for being duplicitous in negotiations with Sothebys management and highlighting the inexperience of the directors Loeb is nominating for positions on the Sothebys’ board. The company also recently adopted a “poison pill” provision to make it difficult for outsiders to gain control of the firm.
Sothebys’ presentation highlights strong company performance
The Sothebys (NYSE:BID) investor presentation focused on the company’s strong performance over the last few years, arguing there was no need for change in the BoD or management. The company highlighted a number of recent positive developments, including strong growth in auction volumes in all categories, establishing a presence in Asia, robust online development and a notable leveraging of the Sothebys brand (real estate, wine, diamonds).
Loeb’s slate of directors lacks relevant experience
The detailed investor presentation also criticized all three director candidates nominated by Third Point as “adding no incremental experience to the board.” The presentation specifically slammed Loeb as having little to no relevant experience for the position. It also noted there are 10 highly experienced, independent directors currently serving 12-person BoD of Sothebys (NYSE:BID), with five of the independent directors having come on board since 2011.
Loeb as “slash and burn” type investor
The Sothebys (NYSE:BID) investor presentation characterizes Loeb as a greedy investor who is just out to make a quick buck and is not really interested in the long-term health of the companies he invests in or their shareholders. Related to this, it notes that nearly all of BoD appointments Loeb has had only lasted one or two years at most.
The presentation also very strongly implied that Loeb’s involvement with Yahoo and the eventual buyout of his shares by the company was “greenmail,” and even quoted Business Insider’s Henry Blodget who called the deal “insider trading”.