By Anya George Tharakan and Liana B. Baker
(Reuters) - Riverbed Technology Inc said it would review strategic options and launched a cost-cutting programme, three days after activist investor Elliott Management reaffirmed its offer to buy the network equipment maker.
The company s stock rose as much as 7 percent to a high of .27 on Thursday.
Elliott, headed by billionaire Paul Singer, has been making repeated overtures to buy Riverbed since January and its latest offer is worth per share.
It appears the clock has struck 12 for Riverbed (and its board) as the company has finally recognised that exploring strategic alternatives might be the right direction to take this company and thus speaks to Elliott s activist view, FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said in a note.
Elliott, which has a 10.5 percent stake in the company, commended Riverbed s board for initiating the strategic review.
Riverbed has hired Goldman Sachs to help in its strategic review, according to people familiar with the matter.
Some analysts said Elliott s proposal could be aimed at flushing out higher offers for Riverbed, which has long been considered an acquisition target.
We view Elliott s stalking horse bid as a proxy for other PE firm s interest in acquiring Riverbed since Elliott has never bought an operating company as far as we know, MKM Partners analyst Michael Genovese wrote in a note.
A stalking horse bid is used as a starting bid or minimally accepted offer that other interested bidders must surpass if they want to buy the company.
Rival network gear makers Cisco Systems Inc, F5 Networks Inc and Juniper Networks Inc could be potential buyers, FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said.
Juniper Networks Inc, which is also under pressure from Elliott to focus on its fast-growing networking business, said it planned to cut its global workforce by 6 percent in April.
Riverbed, which has a market capitalisation of nearly billion, did not specify what alternatives it would consider.
The company said the restructuring was aimed at reducing annual costs by - million and improving operating margins by 1-2 percent. [ID:nBw1Crk1da]
Riverbed also estimated lower-than-expected results for the third quarter due to weakness in its core wide area network (WAN) optimization business.
Riverbed s WAN optimization products help increase the speed of software shared over wide area networks and optimise network traffic.
We believe it is crystal clear that Riverbed has massive growth challenges ahead and now must finally realise that its path as a standalone company might be coming to an end, Ives added.
The company said it expects adjusted revenue of 6 million-7 million (171.19-171.81 million pounds) for the third quarter, compared with its previous forecast of 5 million-1 million.
Riverbed also trimmed its adjusted earnings estimate to 30-31 cents per share, compared with its earlier estimate of 30-32 cents.
(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bangalore and Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Savio D Souza and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)Best of Yahoo NewsstoryWhat ebola fight can learn from poliostoryIs there a ghost at Dudley Castle?story'Garfi' is the new Grumpy Catstory'Floating cycle path' build on Thames?storyTeen's dizzying London skyscraper picsstoryCar covered entirely in human hair
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