Dell buyout vote delayed as more supporters are sought

 

Dell has announced an eleventh-hour delay to a shareholder vote on its founder Michael Dell’s $24.4bn (£16bn) offer to buy the computing giant.

The move gives it more time to secure support for the deal from proxy voters, although it was thought to have won over several large swing shareholders including BlackRock and Vanguard just before the vote was supposed to take place at the Texas HQ yesterday.

The vote will now take place next Wednesday. Mr Dell and his bidding partner, Silver Lake, have spent five months trying to persuade investors to approve the proposed buyout. The board backs his plan but it has run into opposition from the billionaire Carl Icahn, who believes the $24.4bn (£16bn) offer undervalues the company.

About 300 shareholders attended yesterday’s meeting, and many more had already cast proxy votes. Shareholders are allowed to change their votes until polling closes.

Dell’s sales and share price have been falling as consumers switch from laptops and desktops to mobiles and tablets, and Mr Dell argued that it had a better chance of a successful turnaround if it was taken private.

But Mr Icahn suggested that Dell buy back 1.1bn shares at  $14 each, and offer shareholders the right to buy more Dell shares later.

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