Dell Inc (NASDAQ:DELL) is officially going private. The company’s founder Michael Dell and his partner Silver Lake have finally received the approval of shareholders for their leveraged buyout offer. This appears to put an end to months of drama which erupted when Carl Icahn attempted to challenge the go-private deal.
Dell deal finally approved
This morning Dell shareholders approved the $24.9 billion buyout spearheaded by Mr. Dell. The approval was announced at this morning’s shareholder meeting at the PC maker’s headquarters in Texas. This leveraged buyout is now the largest one since The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) bought out Hilton Worldwide Inc. in 2007 and took it private.
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Mr. Dell initially offered his go-private deal in February in an attempt to turn things around at the company and put an end to falling sales and profits. Aaron Ricadela of Bloomberg reports that the Dell Inc (NASDAQ:DELL) founder now plans to increase the company’s investments in mobile devices and servers without being under the scrutiny of public investors.
The long journey of Dell
In order for this morning’s approval to come about, the buyout group had to secure a majority of voted shares, excluding Mr. Dell’s stake of over 15 percent of the company. Institutional Shareholder Services and two other influential advisory firms backed the deal in August. The company’s special committee also backed the deal.
However, Carl Icahn wasn’t happy with the offer and repeatedly said that it undervalued the PC maker. The buyout group then increased their bid to $13.88 a share from $13.65 a share. They were also able to talk the special committee into changing the voting rules so that the shares which didn’t vote would not count as no votes. Meanwhile Icahn filed suit against Dell Inc (NASDAQ:DELL), but the judge in the case sided with the company’s special committee. Today’s vote on the leveraged buyout has been pushed back multiple times, but finally this week Icahn decided to abandon his push against the offer from the company’s founder.
Standard and Poor’s downgraded the PC maker’s credit rating to junk status, which means it will be more expensive for the company to raise debt. The ratings agency said it downgraded Dell on Wednesday because it looked like the go-private deal would go through, as it did today.