Victory at last for Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners in battle against Carl Icahn

Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners have won a key shareholder vote allowing them to take embattled tech giant Dell private.

In January, news first surfaced of the Microsoft-backed Silver Lake consortium bid, with the shareholders offered $US24.4 billion, or $US13.65 per share, in exchange for taking the company private.

However, a counter-offer from colourful investor Carl Icahn soon emerged, with Dell shareholders offered a leveraged recapitalisation plan.

Under Icahn’s proposal, shareholders in Dell would have received a once-off dividend of $US12 per share, with the company borrowing to fund the $US21 billion payment and shareholders retaining their shares in the company.

However, earlier this week, Icahn withdrew his offer for the embattled tech giant, paving the way for the Silver Lake consortium to put their proposal to a vote.

“The Dell board, like so many boards in this country, reminds me of Clark Gable’s last words in Gone with the Wind, they simply ‘don’t give a damn’,” Icahn wrote in a letter to shareholders.

A preliminary vote tally shows the deal was approved by the holders of a majority of Dell’s outstanding shares, including a majority of voting shareholders, excluding Michael Dell.

“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,” Michael Dell said in a statement.

“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.”

Dell also thanked its 110,000 employees and emphasised its focus on expanding its enterprise solutions and services business in the future.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the 2014 financial year.


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