Though FireEye (FEYE) - Get Report founder and director Ashar Aziz had already stepped back from a daily managerial role at the cyber security company, analyst suggested that his resignation would fuel expectations of strategic changes.
The company said that the move "was not the result of any disagreement," in a Sept. 7 Securities and Exchange Commission filing announcing that Aziz had stepped down from the board.
"With the loss of the company's founder, we believe this could position FireEye as a more willing seller," Nomura Securities analyst Frederick Grieb wrote recently. "The [advanced persistent threat] market is becoming crowded, and given the company's operating losses and a very specialized product, we believe that FireEye may look to evaluate its strategic options more readily."
The stock trades at around $15, less than half of its 52-week high of $38.69.
While the market values other cyber security companies at 5.5 times to 6 times projected 2016 sales, Wells Fargo Securities LLC analyst Gray Powell notes, FireEye's valuation is just above 3 times sales. The company has been the subject of takeout speculation in the press. "As a result, we continue to think an M&A bid will limit downside potential on the stock," Powell wrote.
Broad concerns about security revenues arose in the second quarter. Powell suggested that sales had tapered after a 2-year spurt following the high profile attacks on Target (TGT) - Get Report and others.
Activism has recently surfaced in the sector. Elliott Associates targeted fellow security shop Imperva (IMPV) - Get Report this summer, the company subsequently hired Qatalyst Partners to conduct a review.
FireEye did not immediately respond to a query.
This story first appeared in The Street's sister publication The Deal, as an Activist Target of the Week