Zendesk has cancelled its $4.1BN acquisition of Momentive – the parent company of Survey Monkey and GetFeedback – after it failed to receive the support of stockholders.
The move comes after months of scrutiny, particularly from proxy advisory firms.
Fewer than two weeks ago, we reported that the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) announced that the deal had: “The potential to become that rarest of special situations, a merger that is disliked by shareholders of both the seller and the buyer.”
However, the Zendesk c-suite had always stood by it, sensing an opportunity to push its customer service proposition into the wider CX world.
Therefore, the collapse of the acquisition will likely prove a bitter pill to swallow for executives, including Zendesk CEO and founder Mikkel Svane. Although, he did his best to put a positive spin on the news, stating:
While we were excited by the potential of this transaction to transform the customer experience and create stockholder value, we respect and appreciate the perspectives of our stockholders.
In a Zendesk blog post, Svane went into further detail: “We planned to acquire Momentive as a way to accelerate our ability to deliver the future of customer intelligence. While we will not be moving forward with that acquisition, we remain as committed as ever to helping our customers get more value out of their data.”
The Zendesk CEO also suggested that the company will continue developing additional capabilities that empower its customer base. Perhaps this indicates an intent to build, instead of buying new solutions – an approach that may appeal more to Zendesk investors.
One such investor is Jana Partners, which reportedly owns 3% of Zendesk stock. Since the October 2021 announcement of the acquisition, the investment company has given a strong voice of opposition.
According to Reuters, Managing Director Barry Rosenstein even wrote to the Zendesk board two weeks ago. In doing so, he noted: “We believe the board must either be replaced with capable fiduciaries or reverse course and engage with interested strategic and financial buyers to sell the company.” Therefore, the collapse of the deal will seem like a significant victory.
Alternatively, Momentive CEO Zander Laurie has highlighted his disappointment over the stockholder vote, commenting:
While we are disappointed that Zendesk stockholders did not vote to approve the transaction, we are confident in our go-forward strategy.
It is unknown whether the company will seek a new buyer. Although, the statements of Laurie suggest that the brand has faith in its product portfolio.