Progress Software pushes back against activist demands

By Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) – Progress Software Corp <PRGS.O> said on Tuesday that it would not follow activist investor Praesidium Investment Management’s demands to replace the chairman of its board or buy a privately held company pitched by the hedge fund.

Bedford, Massachusetts-based Progress said in a statement that its chairman, Jack Egan, had the support of the company’s board of directors and that an acquisition proposed by Praesidium in late July was not in the best interest of its shareholders.

Sources familiar with the matter said that Aptean Inc, an enterprise software firm owned by Vista Equity Partners was the private target that Praesidium had presented to Progress’ board in July.

Reuters reported last year that Vista Equity had hired an adviser to sell Aptean in a sale that could fetch $1 billion.

Aptean and Vista could not be reached for comment. Progress and Praesidium declined to comment on the acquisition target.

Praesidium managing partner Kevin Oram said in response to Progress’ statement Tuesday that Progress “did not address the central concerns of our letter and presentation.”

Praesidium, the second-largest shareholder in Progress last week urged Egan to resign, criticized the company’s acquisitions over the years and asked for a corporate shakeup at the company.

Progress Software’s second-largest shareholder has also ask Progress’ board to add five members, including a Praesidium representative and a member identified by the investment management firm.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker)

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