Starboard Value takes about $500 million stake in Autodesk, WSJ reports

(Reuters) -Activist investor Starboard Value has bought a roughly $500 million stake in Autodesk and is pushing for changes at the design-software maker, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Starboard believes the company should improve its margins and make changes to its board, the report said without mentioning details, adding that the activist investor recently met with Autodesk executives to discuss concerns related to operations, corporate governance and the handling of a recent accounting probe that tanked the stock.

Starboard criticized Autodesk in private conversations with the company for not disclosing an investigation and other material updates until after the company's window for shareholders to nominate director candidates closed in late March, according to the report.

It is considering taking legal action to ask for Autodesk's director nomination window to be reopened and for the design-software maker's annual shareholder meeting, currently set for July 16, to be delayed, WSJ said.

Autodesk said it had opened an internal investigation into its free cash flow and operating margin practices in April.

The company maintains an open dialogue with its shareholders and welcomes constructive input from them, a spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement.

"We are confident in our strategic direction, significant margin opportunity, and our corporate governance," Autodesk added.

Starboard did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

Autodesk provides 3D design and engineering solutions for sectors such as construction, manufacturing and media. Its portfolio of products includes Revit and Fusion 360 software.

(Reporting by Devika Nair in Bengaluru;Additional Reporting by Shivani Tanna and Rishabh Jaiswal; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Rashmi Aich and Sonia Cheema)