Sotheby's Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan With Shareholder Protections

Sotheby's Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan With Shareholder Protections

Rights Plan Will Expire in One Year Unless Ratified by Shareholders; Does Not
Apply to Qualifying Offer Made for All Shares That Treats All Shareholders
Equally

NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Board of Directors of Sotheby's
(NYSE:BID) today adopted a shareholder rights plan and declared a dividend
distribution of one preferred share purchase right on each outstanding share
of the Company's common stock.

The Board adopted the rights plan in response to the recent rapid
accumulations of significant portions of Sotheby's outstanding common stock,
including through the use of derivatives. It is intended to protect Sotheby's
and its shareholders from efforts to obtain control that are inconsistent with
the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. The rights plan
provides several recognized shareholder protections:

  *expires automatically in 12 months unless approved by shareholders (in
    which case it will expire in three years);
  *has an exception for offers made for all shares of the Company that treat
    all shareholders equally and that result in the bidder owning a majority
    of the Company's shares after 100 days;
  *guards against coercive tactics to gain control without paying all
    shareholders a premium for that control; and
  *facilitates the ability of all shareholders to realize the full long-term
    value of their investment in the Company.

Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby's Chairman and CEO, said: "This action is designed to
protect the interests of all of our shareholders. We look forward to
continuing to engage in constructive dialogue with our investors regarding our
plans for the business, our comprehensive capital allocation and financial
review currently underway, and avenues for enhancing and delivering value to
our shareholders. Thanks to our exceptional staff, we have truly spectacular
property lined up for sale this season and look forward to delivering
outstanding results for our clients."

The rights will be exercisable only if a person or group acquires 10% or, in
the case of investors who are eligible to report, and do report, their
holdings on Schedule 13G, 20% or more of Sotheby's common stock. If a
shareholder's beneficial ownership of Sotheby's common stock as of the time of
this announcement of the rights plan and associated dividend declaration is at
or above the threshold applicable to it (including through entry into certain
derivative positions), that shareholder's existing ownership percentage would
be grandfathered, but the rights would become exercisable if at any time after
such announcement the shareholder increases its ownership percentage by 0.001%
or more. Each right will entitle shareholders to buy one one-hundredth of a
share of a new Series A junior participating preferred stock at an exercise
price of $200.

The rights will not prevent a takeover, but should encourage anyone seeking to
acquire the Company to negotiate with the Board prior to attempting a
takeover. The rights plan also has an exception for offers made for all shares
of the Company that treat all shareholders equally and that result in the
bidder owning a majority of the Company's shares after 100 days.

If a person or group acquires 10% or 20% or more, as applicable, of Sotheby's
outstanding common stock, each right will entitle its holder (other than such
person or members of such group) to purchase for $200, a number of Sotheby's
common shares having a market value of twice such price. In addition, if
Sotheby's is acquired in a merger or other business combination transaction
after a person has acquired in excess of the applicable percentage thresholds
the Company's outstanding common stock, each Right will entitle its holder to
purchase, at the Right's then-current exercise price, a number of the
acquiring company's common shares having a market value of twice such price.
In addition, at any time after a person or group acquires 10% or 20% or more,
as applicable, of Sotheby's outstanding common stock (unless such person or
group acquires 50% or more), Sotheby's board of directors may exchange one
share of Sotheby's common stock for each outstanding right (other than rights
owned by such person or group, which would have become void). The acquiring
persons will not be entitled to exercise the rights.

Prior to the acquisition by a person or group of beneficial ownership of 10%
or 20% or more, as applicable, of the Company's common stock, the rights are
redeemable for $0.01 per right at the option of the Board of Directors.

Certain synthetic interests in securities created by derivative positions —
whether or not such interests are considered to constitute beneficial
ownership of the underlying common stock for reporting purposes under
Regulation 13D of the Securities Exchange Act — are treated as beneficial
ownership of the number of shares of the company's common stock equivalent to
the economic exposure created by the derivative position, to the extent actual
shares of the company's stock are directly or indirectly held by
counterparties to the derivatives contracts.

The dividend distribution will be made on October 14, 2013, payable to
shareholders of record on that date, and is not taxable to shareholders. The
Rights will expire in one year on October 3, 2014, unless ratified by the
shareholders of the Company by such date, in which case the Rights will
instead expire on October 3, 2016. In addition, the Rights automatically
expire concurrently with (but no earlier than 100 days after the commencement
of such qualifying offer) the purchase of 50% (including shares owned by the
offeror) of our outstanding common stock on a fully diluted basis pursuant to
a tender or exchange offer for all of the outstanding shares of Company common
stock at the same price and for the same consideration, provided that the
offeror irrevocably commits to purchase all remaining untendered shares at the
same price and the same consideration actually paid pursuant to the offer.

The rights plan and a summary of its terms will be filed with the Securities
and Exchange Commission.

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Sotheby's has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since
1744. Sotheby's became the first international auction house when it expanded
from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973)
and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China
(2012). Today, Sotheby's presents auctions in eight different salesrooms,
including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby's BidNow program
allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids in real-time
from anywhere in the world. Sotheby's offers collectors the resources of
Sotheby's Financial Services, the world's only full-service art financing
company, as well as private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories,
including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby's Contemporary Art department, as
well as Sotheby's Diamonds and Sotheby's Wine. Sotheby's has a global network
of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York
Stock Exchange (BID).

Forward-Looking Information

This release contains certain "forward-looking statements" (as such term is
defined in the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) relating to
future events and the financial performance of the Company. Such statements
are only predictions and involve risks and uncertainties, resulting in the
possibility that the actual events or performances will differ materially from
such predictions. As such, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance
on forward-looking statements, which speak only as to management's plans and
expectations as of the date hereof. In addition to the considerations and
factors referred to in this release and prior filings and releases, major
factors which the Company believes could cause actual events to differ
materially include, but are not limited to, the overall strength of the
international economy and financial markets, political conditions in various
nations, competition with other auctioneers and art dealers, the success of
our risk reduction and margin improvement efforts, the amount of quality
property being consigned to art auction houses, the marketability at auction
of such property, the success of the Company's autumn auction sales and the
results of our announced capital allocation review and other initiatives.
Please refer to our most recently filed Form 10-Q (and/or 10-K) and other
filings for a more comprehensive list of material Risk Factors. The Company
disclaims any duty to update or alter any forward-looking statements, except
as required by applicable law.

CONTACT: Andrew Gully
         Jennifer Park
         Andrew.Gully@Sothebys.com
         Jennifer.Park@Sothebys.com
         +1 212 606 7176