Activist Icahn tries to derail $24bn Dell deal

It took months for Michael Dell to put together the $24bn (£16bn) deal to take Dell, the computer manufacturer he founded, private with support from the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and Microsoft. But now the buyout is mired in uncertainty after Carl Icahn, the activist investor, joined a number of large shareholders in opposing the deal.

Mr Icahn, pictured, is reported to have bought 6 per cent of the company's shares, and has warned the Dell board of "years of litigation" unless it abandons the proposed buyout offer of $13.65 per Dell share. Instead, he is calling on the company to pay out a special dividend of $9 per share by drawing on its $7.4bn of cash reserves.

Mr Icahn, who in the past has taken aim at Yahoo and its co-founder Jerry Yang for turning down a chance to sell out to Microsoft, made his demand yesterday in a letter to the special independent committee of the Dell board that negotiated the buyout deal.