Dell proposed leveraged buyout has drawn the attention of billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who has now reportedly signed a confidentiality agreement. Dell had apparently asked him to sign the agreement and join the go-shop process, which is meant to find a better deal than the one founder Michael Dell is proposing.
Icahn amassed what he calls a “substantial” stake in Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) in recent weeks, and he has been pushing the company to offer a $9 per share special dividend as part of a leveraged recapitalization instead of the buyout deal. He threated the company with long-term litigation if it didn’t allow shareholders to choose between the buyout offer and his proposal. On the same day, investors voted with their cash by sending Dell’s stock higher than the per-share price of Michael Dell’s buyout bid.
Today DealBook reports that Icahn has signed Dell’s confidentiality agreement, which will likely prevent a confrontation between the investor and the struggling PC maker. The publication cited an anonymous source who said he signed the agreement because the directors wanted to offer his proposal officially during the go-shop process that ends March 22. The source also said the agreement doesn’t bar Icahn from increasing his stake in the company during the process.
In a statement, Dell said it “welcomes Carl Icahn and all other interested parties to participate in the ‘go-shop’ process.”
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL)’s special committee has said it has already decided against Icahn’s recapitalization proposal, saying that it’s not as attractive as Michael Dell’s buyout offer. However, his preliminary proposal may still be on the table. It involves a tender offer for some shares of Dell at $15 per share.
Icahn isn’t the only investor who has expressed ire against Dell over the buyout proposal. Southeastern Asset Management requested the company’s shareholder list and other books and records in a push to prevent the deal as well.