Reuters, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reports Citrix would prefer to sell itself as a whole entity but alternatively could sell off certain assets. Aside from Dell, Santa Clara, Calf.-based Citrix has contacted other technology firms, according to Reuters.
“Where’s there’s smoke there’s fire,” says Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research. “Dell is the name that is thrown around most often and they’re already private. HP could be interested as well, but I’m not sure they are ready. Oracle has been kind of an interesting company. They have market cap to do it and can take advantage of the [Citrix] resources.”
It’s been a tumultuous year for Citrix. In January, it laid off 900 employees, and in June, hedge fund Elliott Management, which now owns a 7.5 percent stake in the company, demanded Citrix make major changes to improve its share price.
Citrix drew the interest of private equity investors prior to to giving a seat on its board to hedge fund Elliott Management senior partner Jesse Cohn in July, the same day that it announced CEO Mark Templeton would retire. Templeton, who has been the company’s CEO since 2001, continues as president and CEO until a replacement is found.
Also in July, Citrix and Elliott said they would look at selling or spinning off the GoTo suite of products, which include videoconferencing service GoToMeeting.
Elliott’s July letter also says it believes CloudBridge, CloudPlatform and ByteMobile “are non-core, are underperforming and are distractions to the management team.
“We believe these businesses, particularly ByteMobile, should be sold or realigned,” the letter states.
Elliott, which sees the workspace services segment as Citrix’s core business, also thinks the company should try to sell the NetScaler division. The company’s networking business, which includes the NetScaler App Delivery Controller, NetScaler Gateway, and CloudBridge products, accounts for slightly less than one-third of the company’s overall business.
“To me, the most obviously spinoff is the GoToMeeting piece as well as NetScaler,” Kerravala says. “I think those never really fit the rest of Citrix’s business. There was no way to make a one-plus-one-equals-three sale there. The people that bought Citrix’s desktop virtualization software weren’t really inclined to buy NetScaler and/or GoToMeeting. Those are the two businesses that have the most interest.”
“The value of an enterprise paying for that kind of service is somewhat is dubious,” Kerravala says of GoToMeeting. “NetScaler is a good product, but I’m not sure Citrix is the best place for it. F5 has kind of run away with that market by leveraging some of the trends in virtualization, security, and things like that. Citrix never managed to do that.”
Citrix didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Dell declined to comment on this story.