(Bloomberg) -- Abcam Plc, the biotechnology supplier whose founder is seeking to replace some of its board members, said it’s exploring strategic options including a potential sale. 

After engaging with investors, the UK company has decided to immediately start a “comprehensive process” to evaluate a broad range of alternatives for maximizing shareholder value, it said in a statement Friday. Abcam’s board has hired Lazard Ltd. and Morgan Stanley to advise on the review, according to the statement. 

There can be no assurances about the outcome of the review, Abcam said in the statement. The company’s American depositary shares jumped as much as 15% in New York trading. Before Friday, they had gained 30% this year, giving Abcam a market value of about $5.3 billion. 

Starboard Value, an activist investor that owns shares in Abcam, applauded the announcement. 

“We’re pleased that both Abcam and Jonathan Milner have committed to exploring strategic alternatives,” a representative for Starboard said in a statement. “While we believe there is a substantial margin improvement opportunity at Abcam, we believe the best risk-adjusted outcome is a sale that maximizes value for all shareholders.”

Bloomberg News reported last week that Abcam was in talks on a potential sale and had attracted interest from suitors including some of the largest US suppliers of life-sciences tools. The Cambridge, England-based company previously announced it had received multiple takeover approaches over the past few weeks. 

Abcam will hold an extraordinary general meeting July 12 at the request of founder Jonathan Milner to consider his proposals to remove three directors and name himself executive chairman. 

Milner issued an open letter to Abcam investors earlier Friday, saying if he’s elected he would create a strategic review committee to explore deal opportunities. He argued in the letter than Abcam’s incumbent directors lack a “shareholder mindset” and aren’t incentivized to drive a deal at the right price. 

Abcam runs an online store selling a variety of protein research tools to life scientists, ranging from reagents and cellular assays to enzymes and imaging products and is sometimes referred to as the “Amazon of antibodies.” Milner, a British scientist who founded Abcam, is one of its largest shareholders with a 6.3% stake. 

Investors view Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Danaher Corp. and Germany’s Merck KGaA as the most likely trade bidders for Abcam, Royal Bank of Canada wrote in a research report earlier this month. 

(Updates with Starboard statement in fourth paragraph)

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