Box explores sale amid pressure from board: sources

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Box explores sale amid pressure from board: sources

US-based cloud services provider Box is exploring a sale amid pressure from hedge fund Starboard Value LP over its stock performance, according to people familiar with the matter.

Box discussed a potential deal with interested buyers, including other companies and private equity firms, the sources said, cautioning that no sale of the company is certain.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. Box declined to comment.

Box shares jumped as much as 17 percent on the news to US$26.47, giving the company a market value of about US$4.3 billion. DA Davidson analyst Rishi Jaluria wrote in research note on Monday afternoon that Box could fetch more than US$34 per share in a sale.

Reuters reported last month that Starboard was preparing to launch a board challenge against Box unless it took steps to boost value for shareholders. It has privately expressed disappointment that the company has failed to capitalise on the work-from-home trend during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many of its cloud computing peers have done.

Its shares currently trade at around US$22 apiece, only marginally higher than the price at which it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in January 2016.

Box said last week it would extend the deadline to nominate directors to its board from mid-April to May 11.

Founded in 2005, Box's offering includes file sharing, cloud storage and cloud backup. Demand for secure file-sharing and other workplace collaboration services has risen since the onset of COVID-19, driven by the information technology needs of companies whose employees are working from home.

While Box has benefited from this trend, it has struggled to fully capitalise on it, as some of its services and products are offered by competitors such as Microsoft either for free or at a lower cost.

Box earlier this month reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations.

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