Hedge fund billionaire Daniel Loeb has been in the news recently for targeting Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht, who has grown revenue steadily during his thirteen year tenure. However, according to an email published at The Gallerist, that’s not the only art company he has been pressuring recently.
Loeb allegedly sent an email to a Gladstone Gallery employee
Loeb allegedly sent an email to a Gladstone Gallery employee (whose name was withheld) explaining how he approaches business and, in particular, his approach to investigating companies. While he doesn’t actually make any threats, his list of anecdotes is noticeably devoid of happy endings.
“In the BindView filings, we expose the CEO of that company who is subsequently fired. We also disclose a pattern of deception and behavior resulting in litigation associated with General Atlantic Partners, its venture capital backer,” he writes. “Just this week we took a strategic position in Penn Virginia… some have questioned whether the CEO of that company will keep his job.”
“It is not my intention to intimidate or frighten you,” writes Loeb, but he warns that if the gallery isn’t able to find a solution that he finds acceptable they “can rest assured that the ensuing investigation will be conducted with the utmost fairness and honesty.” If those really aren’t his intentions, his letter may have been unsuccessful.
Loeb is prepping the gallery for a few rounds of hardball
The email doesn’t spell out the problem exactly, but it seems that Loeb and his wife had planned on buying a piece from the gallery, but was later told that he was on a list of potential buyers and that the piece had not been reserved for him as he believed. Further details may surface, but being on the outside there’s probably no way of knowing who’s in the wrong or if it’s an honest misunderstanding. But Loeb is prepping the gallery for a few rounds of hardball. He even starts the email practically daring them to sue him for libel once he starts disclosing information about them to the press and other potential clients.
“Someone once told me that ‘litigation is the sport of kings,’” he writes. “And indeed, it is one that I seem to relish as I become more expert in its nuances.”