Loeb and Sotheby’s prepare for final showdown

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In the latest development in the hostilities between Sotheby’s board and hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who nominated himself and two colleagues for Sotheby’s board at a vote due to take place on May 6, two independent proxy advisory firms have recommended that shareholders instead elect all 12 of Sotheby’s director nominees.

The first recommendation came from Glass Lewis & Co on April 24. This was swiftly followed by Egan-Jones Proxy Services. “All told, we do not believe that the dissident has made a persuasive case for changes to the company’s board, and we are not convinced that the dissident’s nominees, if elected, would work to the benefit of all shareholders,” stated the report.

It continued: “We are concerned that inclusion of the dissident’s nominees on the board would disrupt ongoing efforts to implement the current strategic plan.  We agree with the company that Mr. Loeb’s nominees would not add relevant skills or experience that is not already effectively represented on the board.”

Commenting on the Egan-Jones and Glass Lewis recommendations, Sotheby’s issued the following statement: “The recommendations from these two independent proxy advisory firms further enforces our belief that Sotheby’s has the right Board, the right leadership and the right strategy to continue Sotheby’s record of success and deliver additional shareholder value now and into the future.”

A spokesperson for Loeb’s hedge fund, Third Point, declined to comment.