Michael Dell’s buyout offer backed by Dell board
The board of Dell has recommended that shareholders should accept an offer led by the company’s founder Michael Dell to take the firm private.
It called on shareholders to approve his $24.4 billion buyout offer at a vote on July 18.
The board said it was the “best alternative available”.
Investor Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management – who own a combined 12% of Dell – oppose the buyout and have made an alternative offer.
Michael Dell and private equity group Silver Lake have offered $13.65 per share in cash to shareholders in return for taking the company private, which would see the company delisted from the stock exchange.
The offer price values Dell 37% higher in terms of market capitalization than in January, before Michael Dell’s buyout plan emerged.
Michael Dell has pledged to shift the business away from PCs into mobile devices and business software.
“A sale to the Michael Dell/Silver Lake group… is the best alternative available,” the board wrote in an open letter to shareholders on Friday.
“In a challenging business environment it offers certainty and a very material premium over pre-announcement trading prices.
“Having conducted a thorough and probing review of Dell’s challenges and opportunities, we believe that the risks and uncertainty of a standalone public company are high and that the transaction we have negotiated offers superior value for Dell stockholders.”
Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management have offered an alternative that would give Dell shareholders $12 per share in cash or additional shares. While this is a lower figure than Michael Dell’s offer, it would allow investors to retain their stake in the company.
A committee of Dell board members evaluating this offer has said it needs more information.
Dell has seen its profits fall amid declining sales of personal computers as more consumers shift to smartphones and tablets.
The 18 of July shareholders’ meeting will take place at Dell’s headquarters in Texas.