BOSTON Oct 4 Sotheby's plans to buy
$73.8 million of stock from Marcato Capital Management, helping
the activist investor cut its stake in the auction house by
roughly half, according to regulatory filings on Tuesday.
The auction house said in the filing that it agreed to buy
2.05 million shares at $36 a share from Marcato. The hedge fund
said in a separate filing that it now owns a 4.9 percent stake
in Sotheby's, down from 9.6 percent at the end of June, when it
was the fund's second largest holding.
Sotheby's stock price closed on Tuesday at $36.99, down 55
cents, or 1.5 percent on the day but up 44 percent since the
start of 2016.
Marcato, run by Richard McGuire, began pushing for changes
at Sotheby's three years ago by suggesting that capital was not
being used in the most intelligent way. In 2014, the company put
hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb and two others on its board after
a bitter proxy fight.
In July, Taikang Life Insurance, run by Chen Dongsheng, who
founded Chinese auction house China Guardian, took a 13.5
percent stake in Sotheby's.
Also in July, Marcato announced two new investments in crane
and heavy equipment manufacturer Terex Corp and
restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by David Gregorio)