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Loeb Ratchets Up Campaign Against Sotheby’s Board

With the May 6 election D-day approaching for Daniel Loeb in his fight proxy fight with Sotheby’s, the activist hedge fund manager called Sothebys (NYSE:BID) recent attack against him “false” and “misleading” while fighting for votes.

Latest campaign literature presents few new facts

Loeb 4 15 luxury consumption

Coming off a stinging loss in a proxy battle with moms at his luxury Manhattan condominium building, Loeb was taking swings at the staid grand dame of the auction business.  In the latest volley in a “he said, she said” political campaign, Third Point released a 30 page presentation that outlines Loeb’s essential arguments – much of which is re-iteration that can be found in the fund’s previously slick media presentations. The presentation directly attacked standing board members Robert Taubman, Daniel Meyer and Jessica Bibliowicz, saying they have “limited qualifications” and likely won’t “add value for Sothebys (NYSE:BID) shareholders.”

“Management’s claim that 2013 was a ‘record’ year is misleading and demonstrates the risk of having a Board asleep at the switch,” Loeb wrote, as he pointed to statistics that can be found on his web site.

Loeb 4 15 luxury art share

Loeb answers Sotheby’s attacks on his credentials

In a previous filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sothebys (NYSE:BID) had questioned Loeb’s credentials and ability to add value to the auction house’s board.  In Loeb’s response, he says Sothebys made “gross misstatements regarding Mr. Loeb’s expertise in art and digital media,” noting accolades Loeb has received for his art collection.

Loeb 4 15 luxury losing share

The presentation also said Sothebys (NYSE:BID) criticism of Loeb’s involvement in Yahoo was “disingenuous.”  Comparisons have been made between Loeb’s campaign against Sotheby’s and their battle over Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), where Loeb’s activism was said to be the catalyst that brought Marissa Mayer in to replace former CEO Scott Thompson.  In the current campaign, however, the glitz and volume of political campaign literature is more extensive, leaving one to wonder where the campaign tactics of activist hedge funds will explore next.  Will we see Daniel Loeb shaking hands at train stations in Greenwich, CT?