Citrix jumps after deal with activist investor sets up new leadership and possible sale

MarketsAssociated Press

Shares of Citrix Systems jumped 9 percent Wednesday after the cloud computing company, under pressure from a major shareholder, shook up its top leadership and said it was weighing the sale of all or portions of the company.

The changes come six weeks after Elliott Management Corp., which has a 7.5 percent stake in Citrix, sent a letter to the board and management saying that it wanted the company to sell off assets that had become "distractions" and to cut costs.

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President and CEO Mark Templeton will retire from the company after a replacement is chosen, the company said late Tuesday. Thomas Bogan, board chairman since May 2005, will be replaced by Robert Calderoni, who joined the board just over a year ago. Bogan will become the company's lead independent director.

Asiff Hirji stepped down from the board, replaced by Elliott's Jesse Cohn, and another board member will be replaced by a candidate chosen by Citrix and Elliott in the future.

The company said it is now in talks with a potential buyer for its ByteMobile traffic management business, and that it has begun a review of strategic options for its GoTo communications products.

A new committee of four directors will begin a review of Citrix's profit margins, profitability, and capital structure. That committee will include Calderoni, Cohn, and the yet-to-be-chosen new director.

Shares of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, company gained $6.17 to $75.80 in morning trading after the company reported better than expected earnings after the close of the bell Tuesday. The shares are now trading at their highest price in almost two years.

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, company also said Tuesday that Elliott Associates now owns 7.5 percent of its stock, up from the 3.4 percent the firm disclosed in June.