NetApp Under Activist Pressure from Paul Singer

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) shares rose by more than 6 percent on today’s market after Elliot Management Corp, the investment vehicle run by Paul Singer, revealed that it had taken a position in the firm in the company’s 13F filing for the first quarter, made public yesterday. A report from Businessweek today suggests that the investment fund may consider an activist run at the company.

NetApp Under Activist Pressure from Paul Singer

NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) operates in the data storage business, a highly competitive area that is coming into its own in 2013. Companies in the business are beginning to see more and more demand for their services as mobile computing continues to eclipse traditional desktop computing and needs change.

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According to sources cited by Businessweek, NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) is seeing pressure from Elliott Management to change its board membership and consider other options to boost shareholder value. Meetings between the investor and the storage solution provider have been going on for weeks according to the same sources.

According to SEC filings, Elliott Management holds less than 5 percent of NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP). That gives the company little control over the board and little bargaining power, though it is possible the fund is considering increasing its stake in the company if it runs into too much resistance on its suggestions.

NetApp wouldn’t be the only activist campaign being run by Elliott this year if the investor does get involved in the firm’s business. Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) is also the target of an activist campaign from Elliott, and the investor’s attempts have been met with some success in changing the way that the company does business.

So far in 2013, shares in NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ:NTAP) have risen by more than 14 percent. The company’s share price has been uneven as it deals with competition and quickly changing technology. The company is due to reveal its earnings for the first three months of 2013 on May 21, an event that is much more likely to attract interest now that Paul Singer is tied up with the company.