Activist investor Starboard owns nearly 5% stake in Splunk and seeks to increase its stock

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Activist investor Starboard Value LP has a large stake in Splunk Inc. and plans to push the software maker to take steps to boost its stock price, according to people familiar with the matter.

Starboard’s stake is just under 5%, the people said. The hedge fund often targets software companies that could benefit from operational and margin improvements or be attractive takeover targets.

Starboard founder and CEO Jeff Smith is attending an activist investing conference, the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Investor Summit, on Tuesday and is expected to detail the fund’s thesis then, the people said.

Splunk SPLK,
+0.69%,
founded in 2003, manufactures software used by enterprise information technology and security operations to monitor threats and analyze data.

It has a market value of around $11.4 billion after shares fell nearly 40% this year amid a sell-off in tech stocks. At the end of March, its market value was nearly $24 billion, and at the peak of September 2020 it exceeded $35 billion as the pandemic boosted demand for cloud computing.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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