Riverbed Balks at $3 Billion Elliott Takeover Bid

Last week, hedge fund manager Elliott Management made an unsolicited $19/share bid to acquire WAN optimization vendor Riverbed. At the time, Riverbed said it would review the offer.

On January 15th, Riverbed announced its decision after reviewing the offer, The answer is no.

In a nutshell, Riverbed’s management is of the opinion that the Elliott bid undervalues the company.

“While the Board will carefully review any credible offer made to acquire the company, any such offer must deliver value to our shareholders in excess of what we believe will be created as we execute on our growth plans and capitalize on the significant investments we have already made in that regard,” Jerry M. Kennelly, chairman and CEO, Riverbed said in a statement. “As customers continue to adopt the full breadth of our Application Performance Platform to achieve the benefits of location-independent computing, we expect to increase our share of the $11 billion application performance infrastructure market.”

Kennelly’s optimism is fueled by what looks to be very strong fourth quarter 2013 results.

In preliminary guidance released yesterday, Riverbed reported that its fourth quarter revenue would come within a range of $284 million to $285 million. That guidance is an increase from the $270 million to $276 million that Riverbed had initially expected.

Looking forward, Riverbed also released some preliminary guidance for its first fiscal quarter of 2014. Riverbed is now guiding for revenue in the range of $262 million to $268 million.

“Our March quarter outlook, combined with our December quarter revenue and earnings performance, are proof points that our strategy to offer the most complete platform for location-independent computing is beginning to deliver results,” Kennelly stated. “As the leading application performance infrastructure provider, we will continue to focus on delivering shareholder value through strong execution.”

Elliott Management had argued that the rationale for its acquisition bid was to increase shareholder value. Riverbed isn’t Elliott’s only target. The hedge fund also has its sights set on Juniper Networks.

Elliott Management has created a website at new-juniper.com detailing its ideas on how that networking vendor should reinvent itself to unlock shareholder value.

“Investors and Street analysts have been calling for Juniper to implement these value-creation initiatives for years, and we believe the three-pronged approach laid out in today’s presentation would be very well received,” Jesse Cohn, portfolio manager at Elliott, said in a statement.

Juniper has responded that it is reviewing the Elliott proposals.

“Juniper welcomes open communications with its shareholders and values their input,” Juniper said in a statement. “Juniper continues to deliver improved financial and operational performance as evidenced by five consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue growth and our continued efforts to streamline the Company’s cost base.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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