Elliott's Gigamon bid stalls amid price disagreements: sources

(Reuters) – Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp’s attempt to acquire U.S. networking software maker Gigamon Inc has ground to a halt over price disagreements, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The development is a setback for Elliott’s private equity arm, Evergreen Coast Capital Partners, as it seeks to become a credible buyer of public companies. Elliott has participated in buyouts of smaller private companies such as Dell’s software group but it is best known as an activist shareholder.

Gigamon rejected Elliott’s latest offer in the past few weeks after it came in below the company’s share price, one of the sources said. Gigamon shares ended trading on Thursday at $ 43.55, giving the company a market capitalization of $ 1.6 billion.

Negotiations could resume in the future with Elliott, or Gigamon could receive an offer from another party, the sources said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Elliott and Gigamon declined to comment.

Santa Clara, California-based Gigamon makes software used in large data centers to boost the flow of traffic and prevent bottlenecks.

Elliott is one of Gigamon’s largest shareholders, having disclosed a 15.3 percent stake in the company in May. Gigamon shares have risen about 24 percent since then.

Founded by billionaire Paul Singer, Elliott is known for pushing many technology companies to sell themselves in recent years, including Mentor Graphics, LifeLock Inc and Qlik Technologies. But it has branched into private equity investing through its Evergreen unit, which was set up in 2015 and announced its first deal last year.

A leveraged buyout of Gigamon would mark the first takeover of a public company to be led by Elliott.

Elliott’s Evergreen participated in the auction for LifeLock, but the company was ultimately sold to Symantec Corp for $ 2.3 billion.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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Lyft, Uber poach key Twitter engineers, managers amid turmoil

A taxi is reflected in a window at the office of taxi-hailing service Uber Inc in Hong Kong, China August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

By Yasmeen Abutaleb

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Ride services Lyft and Uber have poached dozens of key Twitter employees over the past year, including top engineering managers, to help personalize their apps.

Twitter’s management turmoil and 44 percent stock fall over the last 12 months have helped Lyft and Uber recruit key talent, as the micro-blogging site’s employees look to recreate its early success elsewhere, tech recruiters said.

At least 25 former Twitter employees have joined Uber since January 2014, according to a search by Reuters of LinkedIn, including top managers such as Raffi Krikorian, an engineering lead at Uber since March.

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Lyft has poached approximately 15 former Twitter employees, including senior managers and engineers such as Peter Morelli, now a key engineering manager at Lyft.

That is an unusually large number of people leaving in a short time span, tech recruiters said.

Ride-sharing companies are especially attractive because they aim to disrupt the transportation industry, much as Twitter disrupted communication, said Dave Carvajal, founder and CEO of Dave Partners, a tech recruiting firm.

“Twitter is having harder times and there are only a few places in town that are larger companies that are going to go public. Lyft and Uber are some of the best of those places,” added Mehul Patel, CEO of Hired, a tech recruiting firm.

Twitter employees are especially valuable as they have data skills that help Lyft and Uber understand consumer behavior, critical for the ride services as they look to personalize customers’ experiences with their apps.

“These people are some of the brightest talent out there,” Carvajal said.

Recruiting has grown increasingly competitive in Silicon Valley as start-ups valued at more than $ 1 billion, including Lyft and Uber, ramp up hiring as they look to go public.

Lyft’s staff has grown more than 70 percent since the start of 2015, a spokeswoman told Reuters, but she declined to say how many employees it has. Uber has added nearly 1,000 employees over the past year, according to the company. The numbers do not include drivers, who the firms class as contractors rather than employees.

Twitter did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb, editing by Stephen R. Trousdale and Andrew Hay)

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