Light Street Capital to vote against Zendesk's $10.2 billion go-private deal

August 29, 2022 9:30 AM EDT

FILE PHOTO: Zendesk logo is seen in this illustration taken June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) -Zendesk Inc investor Light Street Capital Management said it would vote against the software company's $10.2 billion deal to go private and instead proposed that it remain a standalone public company and find a new top boss.

Light Street, which manages funds that own more than 2% of Zendesk, said on Monday the deal struck with investment firms led by Hellman & Friedman and Permira undervalues the San Francisco-based company.

The investor's move marks the latest in a string of events that followed Zendesk's failed attempt last year to buy SurveyMonkey parent Momentive Global Inc in a $3.9 billion deal.

After persistent pressure from activist investor Jana Partners, Zendesk had agreed to the sale of the company in June.

In a letter to the board on Monday, Light Street proposed a recapitalization of the business, consisting of a $2 billion preferred equity investment arranged by Light Street and a $2 billion incremental debt facility.

The investment firm also suggested that the company issue a $5 billion tender offer at $82.50 per share for shareholders who would like to sell their shares.

"We are not activists; we are fundamental investors who are confident in Zendesk's longā€term potential," Light Street said in the letter.

Zendesk, which makes communication software for businesses, said it would review Light Street's proposal and that shareholders need not take any action at this time.

Light Street added that Zendesk should expand the board to ten seats, including five directors from Light Street and other preferred equity shareholders.

The investment firm, which wants Chief Executive Mikkel Svane to take the role of chairman, also suggested the formation of a committee to find an alternate CEO.

"The skills required to drive Zendesk to over $1 billion of revenue are different than the skills needed to drive Zendesk to $1 billion of operating profit over the next phase in its journey," Light Street said.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Eva Mathews; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Devika Syamnath)

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