(Reuters) - Bain Capital LLC, Hellman & Friedman LLC and Thoma Bravo LLC are among the private equity firms vying for Riverbed Technology Inc, a network equipment maker with a market capitalization of $3.1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
The buyout firms submitted expressions of interest for Riverbed this week, the people said. The San Francisco-based company is preparing to send more detailed information to prospective buyers in the coming weeks, the people added.
Riverbed, whose products boost data speeds on networks, said last month it would explore strategic alternatives following a $21 per share takeover offer from activist investor Elliott Management Corp, which owns an 11.1 percent stake.
The sources asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential. Riverbed, Bain, Hellman & Friedman, and Thoma Bravo declined to comment.
Riverbed shares rose as much as 4.3 percent on the news and were trading up 1.3 percent at $20.40 in afternoon trading in New York.
Riverbed has been under pressure from Elliott for more than a year over the slowdown in its main wide-area network optimization business and its struggles to integrate Opnet, a maker of software to manage traffic on networks, which it bought in 2012 for about $1 billion.
Last week, Elliott signed standstill and confidentiality agreements with Riverbed that give the company more time to explore a sale.
Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis, Nadia Damouni and Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr