Riverbed is undergoing the kind of shift in gears that most technology companies experience, TIG's Norbie said.
"Those shifts open the doors to companies like Elliott Associates to come in and make an acquisition," he said. "While some observers may argue that Riverbed's day has come and gone with companies like Silver Peak nipping at its heels, Riverbed is really more like VMware in trying to redefine itself."
For instance, Norbie said, Riverbed will have an interesting role to play in the software-defined networking (SDN) market.
"Riverbed has already been doing software extraction of networking functionality for several years," he said. "In that time, it has become a leader. People see SDN as a switching or router technology. But Riverbed is at the center of SDN with application acceleration."
Riverbed declined CRN's request for interview. However, the company Wednesday released a statement that read, in part, "Riverbed's Board will review the offer and communicate its views in due course. ... As part of the commitment of the Riverbed Board and management to shareholders, the Board regularly reviews all options for generating and delivering value. The Board will review the Elliott proposal thoroughly, taking into account the Company's current strategic plan and growth initiatives."
Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, wrote in a Wednesday investment report that Elliott's bid is the first step in a "game of high stakes poker."
"To this point, we believe other strategic and financial buyers could enter the Riverbed bidding process over the coming months as this remains a core strategic asset within the broader technology food chain. In our opinion, if not Elliott, we see a financial/private equity buyer as the most likely bidder," Ives wrote.
PUBLISHED JAN. 8, 2013