Citrix in last-ditch attempt to sell itself

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Citrix in last-ditch attempt to sell itself

Ahead of planned asset sale.

Citrix Systems is making a final attempt to sell itself as a whole before it embarks on asset sales, according to people familiar with the matter.

The virtualisation company, which had attracted the interest of private equity investors before it agreed in July to give activist hedge fund Elliott Management a seat on its board of directors, is having new conversations with buyout firms, the people said this week.

Citrix has also reached out to other technology firms to solicit interest, including Dell, the people added. Citrix has a market capitalisation of US$11.6 billion.

The company announced in July it would explore strategic alternatives for its GoTo family of products, including videoconferencing and desktop sharing service GoToMeeting.

However, a sale process for these assets has not started yet because Citrix wants to see if it can still sell itself at a satisfactory valuation, according to the sources.

If Citrix does not sell itself in its entirety, it will not just seek to sell or spin off its GoTo products, but it will also explore options for other assets down the line, according to the sources.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Citrix, Dell and Dell private equity owner Silver Lake declined to comment.

Citrix provides communications software and networking solutions for businesses. It reported net income of US$251.7 million in 2014, down from US$339.5 million in 2013.

Earlier this year, Elliott called on Citrix to sell some units, cut costs and buy back shares to make up for six years of underperformance. In addition to the GoTo business, Elliott has called for Citrix to explore the sale of NetScaler, which helps speed up web-based applications.

Elliott clinched a deal with Citrix in July that gave Jesse Cohn, one of its senior partners, a seat on the company's board. Citrix also said it would start a search for an independent board member, mutually agreeable to Citrix and Elliott.

It also said at the time that CEO Mark Templeton was retiring and that it would search for a new CEO.

Earlier this month, Citrix said it would repurchase up to an additional US$500 million of its common stock.

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