New fight from founder to control Dell


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The Independent Online

Michael Dell faces a fresh challenge in his battle for control of PC maker Dell, the firm he founded, after two of its biggest shareholders proposed a rival offer to his buyout bid.

In a letter to Dell’s board last night billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn and investment firm Southeastern Asset Management proposed giving shareholders the option to keep holding stock in the company and take an additional $12-a-share in cash or stock.

The offer is intend to block founder and chief executive Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion (£15.7 billion) buyout attempt. Dell, who prepared the bid with Silver Lake Partners, wants to delist the firm while he attempts a turnaround, but Icahn and Southeastern want to keep the struggling computer manufacturer publicly traded.

Dell has been hit hard by consumers’ move towards tablets and mobile, and is hoping a move into more profitable areas such as business software, data analytics and storage will reverse its fortunes.

Icahn and Southeastern, who according to their letter own 13 per cent of Dell’s stock, have opposed Dell and Silver Lake’s bid from the start, believing it significantly undervalues the company.

But Icahn and Southeastern’s latest $12-a-share offer is less than the $13.65-a-share being offered by Dell and Silver Lake. Icahn had originally offered $15-a-share for a 58 per cent stake of the firm.

Last month private-equity group Blackstone withdrew its bid for the firm.