Now that private equity firm Thoma Bravo has completed the $3.5 billion deal for Riverbed Technology, the application performance technology vendor becomes a private company. And that’s a good thing, according to Riverbed Chairman and CEO Jerry Kennelly.
“With this acquisition now complete, our team can begin to move forward with the strategic initiatives that will take us to the next stage of growth,” Kennelly said in a statement after the deal closed April 24. “As a private company, Riverbed is better positioned to pursue our long term goals, and has greater flexibility to develop best-of breed technologies that deliver superior application performance for our customers.”
Kennelly’s comments echoed those Michael Dell made in 2013 after his namesake company went private following a grueling months-long struggle with several investors. In an interview with eWEEK late that year, Michael Dell said he was happy to be past the Wall Street and shareholder scrutiny that comes with being a public company, and that going private enabled Dell executives to be more nimble and think longer-term.
“We can focus 100 percent on our customers so we don’t have to focus on other things, shareholders, and that allows us to make bold decisions, invest for the long term,” he said. “We innovate across a lot of spaces on behalf of our customers, and having the freedom to do that without this 90-day planning cycle is just delightful with a business with the scale of ours.”
Riverbed’s Kennelly echoed similar sentiments, saying that “this flexibility, alongside Thoma Bravo’s deep experience growing companies in the application performance space, makes us very excited about the future.”
The company had to undergo shareholder struggles of its own for most of last year, when investor Elliott Management put pressure on management, saying Riverbed’s technology was sound, but the company was underperforming and needed to increase its value to shareholders. In September 2014, Kennelly said it was restructuring the company in hopes of cutting $25 million from expenses, and a review by the board of directors eventually led to the sale in December 2014 to Thoma Bravo and Teachers’ Private Capital, the investment arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
When the sale closed, Riverbed retired its NASDAQ ticker symbol RVBD.