Jul 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

Box claims activist investor wanted in on deal it publicly opposed

Box  CEO Aaron Levie
Box CEO Aaron Levie. Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cloud content management company Box is striking back at Starboard Value, alleging that the firm privately asked to participate in an investment that it publicly opposed.

Between the lines: Box has been battling for nearly a year with Starboard, in one of the most prolonged battles between a Silicon Valley tech company and an activist investor.

Background: Starboard, which is Box's largest outside shareholder, has nominated three directors, including one to replace Box CEO Aaron Levie, and said it opposes a $500 million investment from KKR.

Foreground: Box this morning filed a proxy statement highlighting how the company's stock is now worth much more than when Starboard began agitating for a sale, and disclosed that Starboard privately said that it would drop its director nominations if it were allowed to participate in the KKR deal.

  • The only caveat was that Starboard would want a board seat, something that Levie tells Axios that Box was "not comfortable" with.

Axios has reached out to Starboard Value for comment, but has not yet heard back.

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