In October, we noted activist investor Dan Loeb’s opening salvo in his battle with Sotheby’s: a public letter that sought reforms, sane and otherwise, at the auction house — up to and including the ouster of CEO William Ruprecht. Within two days of receiving Loeb’s screed, Sotheby’s adopted what is called a “poison pill” provision, a type of temporary measure that publicly traded companies sometimes deploy to discourage a hostile shareholder from acquiring more than a certain percentage of stock. Two days ago, Loeb filed a lawsuit against Sotheby’s, alleging that the “poison pill” represents an “improper attempt by the directors of Sotheby’s to entrench themselves in office and to hinder Third Point’s or any other stockholder’s ability to run an effective proxy contest.”
Though the laws surrounding the use of a “poison pill” vary, in this case the Sotheby’s board unilaterally adopted the provision, which lasts for a year before requiring shareholder approval and is triggered if “an outsider acquires ownership of 10 percent or more of the company’s stock.” Once an outsider crosses that threshold, their position is diluted by an offering of shares to every other existing shareholder, effectively stymying the takeover strategy. Dan Loeb’s $14 billion hedge fund, Third Point LLC, currently owns 9.6% of Sotheby’s shares, up slightly from 9.4% in October. Though this is a substantial position, it’s only the fourth largest investment held by the fund, which is renowned for its activist strategies and invests widely across sectors.
Loeb’s frustration with the “poison pill” is predictable, given the shareholder votes he needs to amass to succeed in altering the company’s board of directors. (A Sotheby’s offer of a single board seat was rejected.) According to a document filed with the SEC, on February 27 Third Point announced that it will seek the appointment of Loeb and two others to the company’s 12-member board: corporate restructuring expert Harry J. Wilson and French high-end jeweler Olivier Reza. In making the case for the new directors, Third Point argued that Sotheby’s current leadership is incapable of fixing the company’s “operational structure and cur[ing] its cultural malaise,” that nobody on the board is capable of leading the “fundamental corporate restructuring that the Company must undertake,” and that Sotheby’s responses to date — including a major dividend — are “superficial.”
This week, artist studios in Harlem, Tennessee, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn.
The museum enlisted the help of Linda Bove, the first Deaf actor to be part of Sesame Street’s recurring cast, to help bring artworks from the collection to a Deaf audience.
This exhibition marks 20 years of Arrechea’s solo career with watercolors, sculptures, and multimedia installations created specifically for ArtYard in Frenchtown, New Jersey.
The student screening of Till emphasized an important aim of the film: to educate young people about the fierce love and activism of Mamie Till-Mobley, which played no small part in igniting the Civil Rights Movement.
A painting now exhibited at the Nasjonalmuseet captures Judith and her maidservant in the moment after slaying Holofernes and before their escape, as though veritably peering out of frame.
The New York-based, globally linked, and practice-focused curatorial program for professionals at the School of Visual Arts offers the opportunity to create three funded exhibitions.
The statue was found in a town square in Philippi and adorned a building that may have been a public fountain in the Byzantine period.
In an age dominated by narcissism and material excess, Acheson’s anti-heroic position as an admirer of other artists should be something that we reflect upon.
Featuring over 70 installations and performances at the George Washington University’s historic Flagg Building, the Corcoran’s end-of-year showcase is now available for virtual viewing.
Inspired by Charles Babbage’s idea of air as “atmospheric memory,” In the Air considers air as a common space that belongs to and affects the whole of humanity.
The episode focused on Western museums’ hesitant repatriation efforts and auction houses’ questionable consignment practices.
The committee’s main responsibilities will be to shape policy goals, stimulate arts philanthropy, and advocate for the expansion of federal backing of the cultural sector.