Daniel Seth Loeb (born December 18, 1961) is an American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. He is the founder and chief executive of Third Point, a New York-based hedge fund focused on event-driven, value-oriented investing with $10.8 billion in assets under management, as of March 2016.
New York magazine noted that Loeb’s “preferred strategy” is to buy into troubled companies, replace inefficient management, and return the companies to profitability, which “is the key to his success.” Loeb was described as “one of the most successful activists” in 2014.
Early life and education
Loeb, the son of Ronald and Clare (née Spark) Loeb, was raised in Santa Monica, California where he attended Palisades Charter High School. At the school, he took AP classes, started a skateboard company and was nicknamed “Milo Minderbinder” by one of his teachers (after a character in the novel Catch-22 who had a fascination with the stock market). His father was a partner at the Los Angeles law firm of Irell & Manella LLP and general counsel for Williams-Sonoma. His father also served as an outside director of Mattel, Inc. for over 30 years and during one period became interim President of Mattel. His mother is a historian.
Loeb’s great-aunt, Ruth Handler, created the Barbie doll and co-founded Mattel Inc. In 2009, Loeb told an audience “[I] associated success in business with Hot Wheels and Barbie dolls. I think it was a very powerful enforcer early on to like business.”
Loeb attended the University of California at Berkeley for two years and subsequently graduated from Columbia University with an economics degree. By his senior year at Columbia, he had made $120,000 in the stock market, but lost it all on an investment in a firm called Puritan-Bennett Inc. The loss taught him a lesson, he later said, in “overconcentrating positions”.
Loeb worked at Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm, from 1984 to 1987. He then worked as director of corporate development at Island Records, a record label, where he focused on securing debt financing. After Island Records, Loeb worked as a risk arbitrage analyst at Lafer Equity Investors and then, from 1991 to 1994, as senior vice-president in the distressed debt department at Jefferies LLC. At Jefferies, he focused on bankruptcy analysis, trading bank loans and selling distressed securities. He moved on to become a Citigroup vice president from 1994–95, in charge of high-yield bond sales.