March 6 Starboard Value, an activist hedge fund,
called for the sacking of the CEO and an overhaul of the board
of Tessera Technologies Inc, stepping up a longrunning
battle with the technology patent firm over its governance.
Tessera revealed this week that Starboard had sent it a
letter alleging CEO Bob Young had engaged in possible improper
conduct involving "an inappropriate relationship with a female
employee of the company".
The board asked Starboard to provide evidence for the
allegations and said it unanimously backed Young.
Wednesday's letter from Starboard comes a week after two
independent directors of Tessera said Chairman Robert Boehlke
was obstructing the smooth functioning of the board and they
would resign unless he stepped down.
The company and Young could not be immediately reached for
Starboard, which owns 7.4 percent of Tessera, is also the
biggest shareholder in Office Depot, which it has urged
to sell its Mexican joint venture.
The fund has been pushing for more than a year for changes
at Tessera, which licenses technology used in microchip
In November, Tessera said it will close a plant in Tel Aviv
and look to sell another in North Carolina to streamline
operations at its unprofitable digital optics business that
sells technology used in cellphone cameras.
The company recently settled a patent dispute with Advanced
Micro Devices, but did not disclose financial terms of
Tessera's stock, which was flat in midday trading on the
Nasdaq, has climbed 14 percent in the past year.
But Starboard argues the company financial and stock price
performance is dismal. Last month, the hedge fund said it had
unsuccessfully run the digital optics business like a venture
capital company and that margins at its patent business had