Imperva (IMPV) - Get Report shares surged after the market closed Thursday after the company announced it had retained Qatalyst Partners as a financial adviser and launched a strategic review in the wake of a month-long campaign launched by activist investor Elliott Management's Paul Singer to have the company consider "strategic opportunities."
In June, Elliott launched a campaign at the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based cyber and data security products company, noting that it had started a dialogue with the officials there over the fund's concerns that the company is materially undervalued and operates in a highly strategic area of the technology industry with an attractive competitive position and compelling product set.
In addition, Elliott suggested at the time that Imperva may be a target for M&A, noting that there are both "strategic and operational opportunities" for the issuer that would meaningfully increase value to shareholders.
The company has a $1.5 billion market capitalization and traded up about 7% after the market closed to $45.01 a share. Elliott has a combined economic exposure to Imperva of 9.8%, including a 4.6% common share stake.
According to a person familiar with the situation, Imperva's move to hire Qatalyst, founded by Frank Quattrone, suggests that the primary goal of the cyber and data security company's review is to find a buyer for the business. "They've received a lot of interest," he said. "You would never hire Quattrone unless you are selling the business."
The New York-based activist fund, which specializes in technology companies and other sectors, has launched over 96 campaigns at 92 companies since 1994, according to FactSet. And the fund is no stranger to initiating proxy fights to get its way. It has undertaken 13 proxy fights and threatened director-election contests at four companies in efforts to drive M&A and other moves.