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Alternative Market Briefing

Third Point’s Dan Loeb sets eye on auctioneer Sotheby’s

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Daniel Loeb
Precy Dumlao, Opalesque Asia:

Activist hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb of Third Point raised his stake in New York-based art and collectibles auction house Sotheby’s to 5.7% worth $156.7m in a move seen by many as aimed at engaging the auction house in negotiations, various media reported.

According to a report by BusinessWeek, the 51-year-old Loeb wants to engage Sotheby’s board and management in talks. The report quoted Michael Plummer, former chief operating officer of Christie’s financial services as saying that Loeb may have gotten interested in Sotheby’s as its main rival Christie’s International is making headway in today’s digital market.

Plummer, who is a principal at a New York-based financial firm focused on providing advice for the art market said, "They haven’t radically rejigged their business in the past 10 years. It would appear that these hedge funds have an idea that Sotheby’s could be doing its business differently."

In its filing before the Securities and Exchange Commission, Loeb appeared to be looking for a change in leadership at Sotheby’s which is currently led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William Ruprecht.

Andrew Gully, a spokesman for Sotheby’s said the auction firm welcomed any investment in the company and that the firm’s board of directors and management are committed to p......................

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