Dell shareholders continue to take sides. This time it’s T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:TROW), one of the PC maker’s biggest shareholders. The firm released a statement saying that it will vote against the leveraged buyout offer being brought by founder Michael Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.
On Thursday, Dell shareholders will vote whether the buyout should go through. T. Rowe Price owned approximately 4.4 percent of the company’s shares at the end of March. Months ago, the firm had come out in opposition of the offer. The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide reports that the firm’s votes had been considered to be “up for grabs” by those involved in the Dell Inc (NASDAQ:DELL) deal.
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Those sources reportedly said the firm’s vote is an important one because of how large its stake in the company is. Also T. Rowe is considered by many to be an influential firm in situations like this one.
Activist investor Carl Icahn has been trying to talk shareholders into voting against the offer brought by Mr. Dell, saying that he is greatly undervaluing the company. Today Icahn sent a letter to investors which accused Dell special committee of trying to scare shareholders into approving the deal.
He believes the company will call an immediate annual meeting if the deal is voted down rather than leave a gap of time between Thursday’s vote and the meeting.
Dell vote still up in the air
Other voices have also come out in favor of either Icahn’s or Mr. Dell’s offer. The influential shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended Mr. Dell’s offer because it believed Icahn’s offer was too risky. Donald Yacktman said he favors Icahn’s offer over Mr. Dell’s offer.
Thursday’s vote could be a major turning point in the future of Dell. If shareholders vote the leveraged buyout through, the company will go private, but if they vote it down, Icahn intends to engage in a proxy battle with Mr. Dell for control over the company’s board. In order for Icahn’s tender offer to move forward to a shareholder vote, he must first get all of his board members elected.