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Zendesk Is in Settlement Talks With Activist Investor Jana



Zendesk Inc.


ZEN -4.92%

is in talks to settle with activist investor Jana Partners LLC, days after the software program firm ended an unsuccessful bid to promote itself.

Zendesk and Jana are discussing a truce that might contain

Mikkel Svane

stepping down because the software program firm’s chief government, in addition to adjustments to the board, together with the elimination of director

Carl Bass,

based on individuals aware of the matter. The scenario remains to be fluid and the lads might nonetheless stay in their roles, among the individuals mentioned.

A deal might be accomplished inside weeks, assuming the talks don’t collapse, the individuals mentioned.

Mr. Bass, the previous president and CEO of

Autodesk Inc.,

is Zendesk’s lead unbiased director in addition to chair of the board’s compensation committee.

Jana, which has a roughly 2.5% Zendesk stake, based on FactSet, has been agitating on the firm since earlier this yr. The Wall Street Journal reported in February {that a} group of private-equity corporations had made a takeover method to Zendesk that might worth it round $17 billion. Zendesk’s market worth was round $7 billion based mostly on Tuesday’s closing value after the sharp selloff in know-how and different shares.

Shares in Zendesk rose roughly 5% in after-hours buying and selling after the Journal reported on the settlement talks.

Zendesk’s shareholders subsequently voted down its deliberate acquisition of

SurveyMonkey

father or mother Momentive Global Inc. by a large margin, forcing the company to abandon what would have been a roughly $4.1 billion deal.

The firm was currently in superior talks with a private-equity consortium for weeks, individuals aware of the matter have mentioned. But these talks stalled and the corporate mentioned Thursday it was ending its strategic evaluation and remaining unbiased.

Jana had criticized the Momentive deal and nominated 4 administrators to Zendesk’s board. The activist might nonetheless run a proxy struggle if the settlement talks fail. It beforehand urged Zendesk to set a date for its annual assembly earlier than the June deadline to take action and mentioned it was ready to sue if wanted. Zendesk has since set the assembly for Aug. 17.

Zendesk specializes in serving to firms with buyer communications and says on its web site it has over 160,000 paid accounts and greater than 6,000 workers. It was based in 2007 and relies in San Francisco.

Write to Dana Cimilluca at dana.cimilluca@wsj.com and Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the June 15, 2022, print version as ‘Software Maker Zendesk in Talks With Activist.’

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