Sotheby’s And Dan Loeb Battle Looks Good Says Citi


Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) reiterated a Buy rating on Sothebys (NYSE:BID) and put a price target of $55 on the company’s stock in the wake of Dan Loeb’s letter to the company. Oliver Chen, the analyst who authored the report, thinks that the shake up at the top may be a good way to add value to the auction house.

Chen did not raise the price target he had on Sothebys (NYSE:BID), but argued that “new board members would be positive catalysts for value creation.” He is also positive on the “greater prospects of increased transparency and visibility,” as well as the “acceleration of strategic and managerial changes.”

Sothebys value

Dan Loeb appears to believe that current management at Sothebys (NYSE:BID) is holding back the value of the company, but Chen does not agree wholly. He was already predicting a large amount of growth at the auction house, though he reckons it may come faster now that Third Point is involved.

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The general market appears to be positive on Loeb’s campaign to change management at Sothebys (NYSE:BID). The stock has increased by more than 3 percent in the last two days, and was heading higher at time of writing. Chen reckons that Loeb’s bid to take control at the company will increase value at Sothebys (NYSE:BID).

Loeb at Sothebys

Dan Loeb upped his stake in Sothebys (NYSE:BID) to 9.3 percent yesterday and released an open letter to the management of the company. Loeb wants his Third Point LLC to have representation of the company’s board. He is also seeking to remove the company’s current CEO. Loeb argues that the current management do not understand the value of Modern Art to the company’s growth.

Chen highlights the strategic options for Sothebys that Loeb points to in his letter, and the management shake up that Loeb is attempting. Both are likely positives for Sothebys (NYSE:BID), according to Chen. An even more positive view on the change comes from Stifel analyst David A. Schick.

He puts a price target of $65 on the company’s stock and argues that Loeb’s presence at Sothebys (NYSE:BID) is “thinly followed” and will greatly improve visibility and bring more value to the company. Sothebys (NYSE:BID) is, according to the Stifel analysis, a “rare way to “own” half the art world.”

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