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Dell gets OK to privatise – at last Featured

Michael Dell has finally got his way. Dell will go private, after a seven month battle with shareholders to get the deal approved.

It looked at one stage like it would not happen, Legendary investor Carl Icahn, who at age 83 and with billions in the bank must be just doing it for fun, tried to keep the company public and control it himself, has given up.

“Michael can have his company,” he said in disgust, referring to founder Michael Dell, whose idea the privatisation was. Icahn came close, buying up enough shares to give him the largest stake in the company, more even that Michael Dell’s 14%, but he could not take enough other shareholders with him.

The company has announced that Dell stockholders have approved the proposal, in which Michael Dell will acquire all the stock in the company he founded in 1984 in a college dorm room and took public in 1988, in partnership with technology investment firm Silver Lake Partners.

Stockholders will receive $13.88 per share, which values the company at US$24.9 billion. The initial offer back in February when the privatisation proposal was first moot was $13.65. The stock had been trading at around that price since, after falling below $9 last October. In the middle of the pivatsation battle Dell announced a 72% drop in its quarterly earnings.

“I am pleased with this outcome and am energised to continue building Dell into the industry’s leading provider of scalable, end-to-end technology solutions,” said Michael Dell. “As a private enterprise, with a strong private-equity partner, we’ll serve our customers with a single-minded purpose and drive the innovations that will help them achieve their goals.”

Michael Dell now has a lot of work to do. He knows he has to reorganise the company, and feels it is better to do so without the tyranny of quarterly reporting and Wall Street analysts commenting on every move. Dell lost nearly a third of its value last year as the epicentre of computing moved from Dell’s traditional strengths of PCs and servers to the mobile market. 

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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