RPX execs leave amid $800m takeover speculation

Amid speculation of an $800 million takeover offer for patent risk management company RPX Corporation, RPX said its chief revenue officer Steve Swank and chief strategy officer Bob Heath are leaving RPX.

Trade publication IAM reported that RPX has been the subject of a recent takeover offer from a private consortium which values the defensive aggregator at $16.25 per share or roughly $800 million, citing two sources “with knowledge of the offer.”

RPX shares currently trade around $13.55.

“Steve and Bob have played key roles in helping RPX achieve its leadership position in the patent business, and we are grateful for their many contributions,” said RPX CEO Marty Roberts.

“We wish them every success in their next ventures.

“Over the past months, we have outlined a new strategic direction for RPX’s patent business, pursuing initiatives and new lines of business that leverage our expertise and unique position in the patent space.

“We are now announcing a restructuring to support these initiatives and enhance our ability to deliver value in our patent business.”

RPX added that Max Straube, currently vice president of client development, has been named senior vice president and will oversee the company’s newly formed client services group.

“Client Services will integrate the functions of both the client- and prospect-facing parts of our organization in an industry-focused manner to optimize the delivery and sales of our patent risk management services.

“This new structure also enhances our ability to pursue new initiatives and deliver an expanding number of services.”

Straube joined RPX in 2013 and has been responsible for relationships across a variety of industries, including automotive and financial services.

Prior to RPX, Straube was engaged by Alcatel-Lucent to work with the firm’s venture portfolio, as well as to help evaluate and implement strategic options for the company’s patent portfolio.

“I am confident that Max’s demonstrated leadership ability, client-focused orientation, and significant transactional experience will make him highly successful in this new role,” said Roberts.

Straube began his career in investment banking at Salomon Brothers and went on to hold senior positions at various firms including UBS.

Neal Rubin, senior vice president, will take an expanded role as head of operations for RPX, managing its data analysis and intelligence services operations.

Andy Block, senior vice president, “will lead the continuing development of several RPX initiatives intended to drive growth in the company’s patent-related services offering.”

Rubin and Block joined RPX in February 2017 from Cisco and Time Warner Cable respectively.

“Neal has proven himself to be not only an experienced and effective manager, but also has shown a keen ability to develop strategic plans and execute quickly,” said Roberts.

“Andy’s significant industry experience and client perspective have been a great asset in enhancing existing and identifying new solutions to serve our clients’ evolving needs.

“I am delighted to have them and the rest of our management team work with me to further advance RPX’s position as a leading service provider in the patent space.”

Separately, RPX reaffirmed the fourth quarter revenue guidance it provided on October 30, 2017.

RPX said: “Revenues for the three months ending December 31, 2017 are expected to be between $77 million and $82 million.”

IAM reported that bid interest in RPX has mounted since former CEO and co-founder John Amster left the firm in February.

IAM said Amster had been lobbying the board to consider taking the company private as RPX’s share price languished below its $19-per-share IPO price from 2011.