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Adobe Systems Names ValueAct Capital’s Kelly Barlow to Board

Adobe Systems Inc., the largest maker of graphic design software, added Kelly Barlow, a partner at investor ValueAct Capital Partners LP, to its board, expanding the number of directors to 13 from 12.

ValueAct, a San Francisco-based investment firm with more than $8 billion under management, has a 6.3 percent stake in the San Jose, California-based company. Adobe said in a filing that ValueAct owned 31.3 million shares as of yesterday, which would be worth $1.11 billion at today’s closing stock price.

Adobe, which makes print and Web design programs including Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver, is undergoing a period of slow growth -- sales are expected to expand 3 percent this year and next, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Its stock has declined 19 percent over the past five years, compared with a 13 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Information Technology Index during the same period.

In an interview in April at an event to release the company’s Creative Suite 6 package of design software, Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen called his interactions with ValueAct “a very collaborative relationship” and declined to expand on any discussions.

ValueAct and Adobe have agreed that Barlow or his replacement must resign from the board if the investment firm’s stake drops below 5 percent. ValueAct also agreed not to hold more than 12 percent of Adobe.

Adobe shares rose less than 1 percent to close at $35.40 in New York. The company is scheduled to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Dec. 13.

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