Riverbed Technology Inc. (RVBD), which earlier in the year fell prey to activist investor Elliott Management Corp., has agreed to be acquired for $3.6 billion by private-equity firm Thoma Bravo and Canadian pension group Teachers’ Private Capital.
The deal is being done at $21 per share, a 12 percent premium over the prior day’s deal, according to a statement released by the WAN optimization specialist today.
Riverbed has been in play pretty much all year long. It started in January of this year with a $20-per-share bid from Elliott. A month later, Elliott raised the bid to $21. Many analysts and Wall Street players expected better bids — but 11 months later, all Riverbed succeeded in getting was a bid for the same price as Elliott’s best bid.
The company should be releived to put the issue to rest. The battle with the hedge funds and investors was clearly taking a toll on Riverbed and was service as a distraction to the company. That may have led to a change in thinking on a deal in October, when Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly sent signals he was ready to get the deal done.
This could be a good solution for Riverbed, as going private will allow the company to get out of the investor spotlight and focus and delivering technology in the WAN space, which is changing rapidly as existing WAN optimization technologies move from specific hardware devices to cloud services.