Ethernet equipment

Extreme's Activist Investor

2:25 PM -- With a valuation ($260 million) lower than its past four quarters of revenues ($305 million), Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) has attracted an activist investor.

Ramius LLC's Value and Opportunity Advisors subsidiary has been on Extreme's case for more than a year. Ramius has the usual grievances about the company's valuation being less than its potential.

So, here's what's gone down. Ramius partner Jeffrey C. Smith published an open letter to Extreme last week, triggered by the firm's inability to amass 9.9 percent of Extreme's stock. Extreme recently enacted a provision to prevent anyone from buying up large blocks of shares.

Extreme chairman Gordon Stitt responded today with a letter saying the move wasn't directly related to Ramius (it had more to do with preserving tax cuts for the company's losses), and that it's considering a waiver for Ramius and "another shareholder" (cue ominous music) to build up 9.9 percent stakes.

Stitt also listed the things Extreme is doing to unlock shareholder value, or whatver the kids call it these days. Those include new product introductions, a realigned sales force, and the hiring of CEO-to-be Oscar Rodriguez of Riverstone fame. (See Industry Vet Takes Extreme CEO Job.)

Ramius has also nominated two board members for Extreme, a matter that will be taken up at the shareholder meeting towards the end of the year.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:27:31 PM
re: Extreme's Activist Investor

These kinds of investor interventions happen all the time, but few are as much fun as the Chapman guys, who were targeting Vitesse back around 2006.


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