Elliott-Targeted Akamai Shares Spike On Strategic Review

Shares of Elliott Management-targeted Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM)  jumped on Tuesday in response to a report that the company had hired Morgan Stanley to conduct a strategic review.

At issue is a Bloomberg report suggesting that the cloud services company had hired Morgan Stanley to assist with a review. 

The potential strategic review comes after Elliott Management's Paul Singer last month launched an activist campaign at Akamai, arguing in a securities filing that there are numerous "operational and strategic" opportunities to maximize shareholder value, including a consideration of "a sale process."

In an activist 13D filing last month, Elliott said it intended to consider whether to make proposals about the company's operations, board, management, capital allocation process and whether a potential strategic review or sale of the business or its assets makes sense. The fund said it would also consider whether it might want to participate in the transaction, which suggests that the insurgent fund's private equity unit, Evergreen Coast Capital, could be interested in buying Akamai or joining in an acquisition.

Morgan Stanley has an activist defense team, and it is possible that the investment bank is advising Akamai on how to defend itself from the activist as well. 

Morgan Stanley in 2015 brought on David Rosewater as a managing director to head its activism-defense team. Rosewater had been a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP and had advised many leading activists, including Elliott Management's Paul Singer and Trian Fund Management's Nelson Peltz.

Akamai did not return a request for comment.

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