Tags: Sotheby | Loss | Art | Sales

Sotheby's Loss Narrows as Art Sales Increase

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 07:30 PM

Sotheby’s, the auction house being challenged by activist investor Daniel Loeb over its leadership, said losses in the first quarter narrowed from the year earlier period as sales jumped.

The New York-based company said it expects to report a pretax loss of $6 million, down 81 percent from $32 million a year earlier, according to a statement Wednesday. It attributed the results to an increase in sales of Impressionist and contemporary art.

In an unusual move, Sotheby’s published its preliminary results to get the information out before its annual shareholders meeting on May 6 in New York. Sotheby’s and Loeb have been lobbying shareholders to vote for their competing slates of new directors ahead of the meeting, when the new board is expected to be selected. Loeb has criticized Sotheby’s management and its deteriorating competitive position relative to rival Christie’s for months.

The results “demonstrate that we are executing on our strategic plan and are well positioned to further build on the substantial momentum and record results we achieved in 2013,” Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby’s chief executive officer and chairman, said in the statement.

Marquee Sales

Sotheby’s typically posts a loss or small profit in the first and third quarters and a larger gain in the second and fourth periods, when its biggest semi-annual auctions are held.

Its marquee Impressionist and modern art evening sale in New York is set for May 7 and its contemporary-art sale is scheduled for May 14.

The company said it expects to report net auction sales of about $730 million in the first quarter, a 40 percent increase from the year earlier.

Sotheby’s sale of Impressionist and modern art in London in February tallied 163.5 million pounds ($274.37 million), up 57 percent from a year before and surpassing its high presale estimate of 128.4 million pounds. Of 89 offered lots, only 10 failed to find buyers, Sotheby’s said. The auction house’s contemporary art sale in London the same month tallied 87.9 million pounds, an 18 percent increase from a year earlier.

Sotheby’s reported the results after the close of trading. Its shares fell 1.5 percent to $40.65 during regular New York trading, extending the decline this year to 24 percent. In aftermarket trading, the shares sank an additional 2.3 percent to $39.50.

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Sotheby's, the auction house being challenged by activist investor Daniel Loeb over its leadership, said losses in the first quarter narrowed from the year earlier period as sales jumped.
Sotheby, Loss, Art, Sales
377
2014-30-23
Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 07:30 PM
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