There was Yahoo. There was Depomed. There was Marvell Technology. And now, with a new investment in Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), activist investor Starboard Value Fund appears to be going for a grand slam of cage-rattling among Bay Area businesses this year.
According to a regulatory filing on Monday, New York-based Starboard has acquired a $124.7 million stake in HPE. It remains to be seen if Starboard, a hedge fund headed up by investor Jeffrey Smith, will reach out to HPE Chief Executive Meg Whitman in an effort to increase its influence at the enterprise-technology company that was created when Hewlett-Packard split in two in 2015.
Neither Starboard nor HPE returned requests for comment on the investment.
It’s not uncommon for institutional investors and fund managers to buy large amounts of stock in publicly traded companies, but Starboard is another animal. Starboard is known for buying up stakes in companies that it views as being improperly managed or undervalued. It then launches efforts to shake up those organizations, often by seeking to add several of its own nominees to those companies’ boards of directors.
Starboard is no stranger to the CEOs around the Bay Area. Already this year, Starboard has used its stock ownership and activist philosophy to grab seats on the boards of chipmaker Marvell Technology, which has its U.S. headquarters in Santa Clara, and pharmaceutical company Depomed, of Newark.
Its most high-profile attack came against Yahoo when, earlier this year, Starboard said it would submit a slate of directors to replace Yahoo’s entire board, including CEO Marissa Mayer. Starboard and Yahoo reached a sort of a truce in April, when Yahoo added four of Starboard’s nominees to its board of directors. Yahoo is now in the process of being sold to Verizon Communications.
Rob Enderle, director of technology research firm the Enderle Group, said…