NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Software developer Citrix Systems (CTXS) - Get Report late Tuesday reached a settlement with activist hedge fund Elliott Management's Paul Singer in a deal that includes bringing on a dissident board member, removing its longtime CEO, and potentially selling off a key unit.
As part of the deal, Citrix's chief executive, Mark Templeton, announced he will retire after 14 years at the helm. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based tech company has hired executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help it find a new CEO.
Citrix also said it will explore strategic alternatives such as a sale for its GoTo line of products, which includes videoconferencing technology.
In June, Elliott, which has a 7.5% stake in Citrix, called on the company to evaluate a sale or spinoff of its GoTo franchise. The activist investor said in a letter that the divestiture would not only be "meaningfully accretive to value" but also allow management to focus on "core operational execution."
The activists also said Citrix should explore a sale of its NetScaler enterprise software division, though that business wasn't specifically named as being part of the strategic review.
In addition, Citrix director Asiff Hirji will be replaced by Elliott nominee Jesse Cohn, who is the fund's head of equity activism. The company and activist also said they would choose a "mutually agreed upon" independent director to replace someone else on the board, which would keep the board size at 10. The company also agreed to form a board committee with "a mandate to recommend a plan to improve margins, profitability and capital structure."
As part of the deal, Elliott agreed not to launch a proxy contest at the company's 2016 annual meeting. Citrix agreed to provide "certain information" to Elliott as part of a confidentiality agreement.
When it started its campaign at Citrix, Elliott said its suggested changes could mean that the company could achieve a stock price of "$90 to $100+ per share by the end of 2016."
Citrix closed at $69.63 per share Tuesday. The stock was up more than 9%, to $76.01, early Wednesday afternoon.
Elliott had also called on Citrix to repurchase 56 million to 61 million shares over the next year and a half.
Separately, Elliott said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it had cut its activist stake in Juniper Networks (JNPR) - Get Report to 4.5%, noting that the company has made progress improving the business and increasing its stock price.
The filing also complimented Juniper CEO Rami Rahim's "strong leadership" and gave the company kudos for reconstituting its board and diversifying its revenue "away from carriers to Web 2.0 and enterprise customers."
The fund also noted that Juniper has repurchased $3.3 billion in stock over the past 18 months and instituted a dividend.
The activist fund and Juniper in February entered into a settlement agreement that included adding two Elliott nominees to its board. Juniper had also been under activist pressure by insurgent fund Jana Partners, which had been reportedly in talks with management over an "unfocused product line and a lazy balance sheet."
When Elliott first revealed its 6.2% stake in January 2014, it said it had acquired shares at prices ranging from $18.86 a share to $22.74. Juniper, which has an $11 billion market capitalization, closed Tuesday at $27.57 a share. In early afternoon trading Wednesday, it was down slightly, to $27.54.