Proxy advisor ISS seeks vote against Zoom-Five9 deal on growth doubts

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of diplayed Zoom logo in this illustration taken March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) - Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services on Friday recommended a vote by shareholders against Zoom Video Communications Inc's $14.7 billion deal for cloud-based call center operator Five9 Inc, citing growth concerns.

Though the combined company will have access to a larger market, ISS said, "The all-stock deal exposes Five9 shareholders to a more volatile stock whose growth prospects have become less compelling as society inches towards a post-pandemic environment."

Since the deal was announced on July 18, Zoom shares have lost more than 20% of their value, while Five9 has dipped about 5%.

A pandemic winner whose shares had surged nearly 396% last year, Zoom struck its largest-ever acquisition for Five9 in a bid to expand beyond its core video-conferencing services.

The company earlier this month announced improvements and expansions to its services that included event lobbies, chat, networking in the hope that consumers will continue to use its platform for remote-working.

However, ISS said the new additions failed to assuage shareholder concerns of continued business churn, while Five9's prospects have improved since the acquisition was announced and could attract more bidders if the deal falls apart.

Zoom was not immediately available for a comment, while Five9 declined to comment.

Zoom shares have lost nearly 18% this year and were up 2% in early trading. Five9 was up 2.5%.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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