LONDON – Packaging intellectual property licensor Tessera Technologies Inc. has revealed that its CEO has been referenced with regard to an alleged inappropriate relationship with a female employee of the company in a private letter to the board of directors from shareholder Starboard Value LP.
The allegations in the private letter were of "possible improper conduct" by the CEO involving "an inappropriate relationship with a female employee of the company," said Tessera (San Jose, Calif.).
The action of 7-percent shareholder Starboard Value LP has been characterized by the Tessera board as an attempt at blackmail and the Tessera board said that Starboard has not provided any backing for its allegations and that the board is unanimous in its support for CEO Robert Young.
The letters are the latest salvos in a fight over the future control and business direction of packaging technology developer and IP licensor Tessera.
Tessera revealed in an open letter of response to Starboard Value on March 4 that Starboard sent a private letter to the Tessera board on Feb. 28 that made allegations against CEO Robert Young and called for "appropriate action" to be taken. This was followed up by a public letter sent on March 1 which did not mention the same allegations but dealt with business proposals for the company.
Tessera also said that the Feb. 28 private letter said that if the Tessera board did not consent to Starboard's proposals for Tessera, Starboard would seek an election contest and replace the majority of the board of directors of Tessera.
"Starboard's 'private' letter was a transparent attempt to force the board to fire Dr. Young or else face the publication of that letter and its allegations. But neither the board nor Dr. Young is prepared to be blackmailed into a course of action by Starboard that is not in the best interests of stockholders of the company by threats of publishing unfounded and scurrilous accusations. The board asks that you promptly either provide details that would enable us to follow up via our established processes or else withdraw the allegations," Tessera said in the open letter to Starboard.
Tessera added that in its formal demands – for the removal and replacement of the CEO, the chairman and the majority of the board seats – Starboard Value is essentially demanding the control a majority owner would have but while only owning 7 percent of the company's shares. Tessera said it remains open to interviewing four of Starboard's board nominees and would consider adding two candidates from Starboard's list to the board of directors.
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