(Bloomberg) -- Infoblox Inc., the U.S. network and cyber-security software company targeted by investor Starboard Value, hired Morgan Stanley for activist defense, according to people familiar with the matter.

The hiring of Morgan Stanley may delay a company sale as advisers meet with management to chart a path forward, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The company’s shares rose 4.3 percent to $19.61 as of 3:54 p.m. in New York, after climbing as much as 5.7 percent.

Infoblox, based in Santa Clara, California, received a takeover offer from private equity firm Thoma Bravo, Bloomberg reported May 11. Starboard, one of the most prolific U.S. activists, has been instrumental in pushing Yahoo! Inc. toward its current sales process, among other high profile campaigns.

Investment banking teams -- whether hired for defense, a potential sale or other strategic alternatives -- review incoming offers and perform valuation exercises for corporate boards and management. A sale of Infoblox is still a probable event, one of the people said. Infoblox and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

A spokesman for Thoma Bravo didn’t respond to e-mail requests for comment. Starboard disclosed a stake of about 7 percent in Infoblox, which develops software products, including appliances that automate businesses’ computer-network functions, in April.

Starboard may have been drawn to Infoblox’s cost structure and cash balance profile, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Woo Jin Ho. Infoblox, with a market value of about $1.1 billion, reported fiscal third-quarter revenue that was weaker than expected last month.

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