Starboard Value Purchases $500M Stake in Autodesk

Activist Starboard Value Has Stake in Autodesk

Activist investor Starboard Value has acquired a $500 million stake in Autodesk (ADSK.O) and is pushing for changes at the design-software maker, according to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Starboard believes Autodesk should improve its margins and make changes to its board. The activist investor recently met with Autodesk executives to discuss concerns about operations, corporate governance, and the handling of a recent accounting probe that negatively impacted the stock.

In private discussions, Starboard criticized Autodesk for not disclosing an investigation and other significant updates until after the window for shareholders to nominate director candidates closed in late March. Starboard is considering legal action to reopen Autodesk’s director nomination window and delay the company’s annual shareholder meeting, currently set for July 16, WSJ reported.

Autodesk stated it began an internal investigation into its free cash flow and operating margin practices in April. The company maintains an open dialogue with shareholders and welcomes constructive input, a spokesperson told Reuters. “We are confident in our strategic direction, significant margin opportunity, and our corporate governance,” Autodesk added.

Starboard did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. Autodesk provides 3D design and engineering solutions for sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and media, including products like Revit and Fusion 360 software.

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