As unsourced press reports fly that Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD) is now in play, with private equity funds Silver Lake Management LLC, Thoma Bravo LLC and KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR) said to have been recently rebuffed by Riverbed management, hedge fund Elliott Management is reaffirming their $21 cash offer.
Extremely interested… but let us see the books
“Elliott remains extremely interested in acquiring Riverbed, and our $21 cash offer still stands,” Jesse Cohn, portfolio manager at Elliott, said in a statement. “Riverbed’s stock is trading meaningfully below our $21 offer, below our initial offer of $19 and vastly below the levels at which other potential buyers are interested.” The stock was trading above $18 in early afternoon trading today.
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Several weeks ago Elliott hired the investment bank Moelis & Co. to dress up its $21 per share offer for Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD). The key issue in the buyout, at this point, is access to Riverbed’s books, which the network equipment maker will not open to Elliott or any buyer.
Expect the board to “do the right thing”
“Shareholders clearly still expect that the Board will eventually do the right thing by engaging with Elliott and other potential buyers, but unfortunately our repeated requests for access to diligence materials have been ignored,” Cohn said. “By continuing its policy of ignoring premium offers and refusing to engage, this Board is depriving shareholders of significant potential value and opening the door to significant value degradation.”
Rebuffing interest from potential suitors, offers organized by Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS) and Jefferies, is one way to lead to “significant value degradation,” but the activist investors remain optimistic. “Elliott continues to believe that the best path forward for Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD) is for the Board to start acting in the best interest of shareholders by providing all interested buyers with access to diligence with an eye toward achieving a value-maximizing outcome.”