Dell’s Board Might Favor Icahn, Blackstone Bids

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Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL)’s special committee of four board members said today that they will negotiate with investor Carl Icahn and private equity firm The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) that placed their bids late Friday. In addition, both the buyout bids could prove superior to offers made by the computer maker’s founder and Silver Lake Partners.

Dell's Board Might Favor Icahn, Blackstone Bids

Chairperson of the special committee Alex Mandl said that they would work diligently with all the three potential buyers to ensure that Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) shareholders get the best possible value. Michael Dell has also agreed to work with third parties in their buyout proposals. However, the latest announcement of two alternative proposals would not close the door for the company’s founder. The Texas-based computer maker’s founder may raise his bid.

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL)’s board of directors set a deadline that ended late Friday for a potential offer that tops Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners’ bid of $24.4 billion. The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) has proposed to offer $14.25 per share. Carl Icahn has proposed to purchase 58 percent stake in the company at $15 per share.

Under both The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) and Icahn’s proposals, Dell shareholders will continue to own their shares in the company and the stock will trade publicly. According to Carl Icahn’s bid letter, the two largest shareholders of the company after Michael Dell, South-eastern Asset Management and T. Rowe Price have expressed interest to keep their holdings.

Earlier on February 5, Michael Dell, along with Silver Lake Partners, had proposed a $13.65-a-share offer to take the company private. Dell, who owns 15 percent of the company, said he would get a $2 billion loan from Microsoft Corporation to finance the deal. However, Carl Icahn has opposed Michael Dell’s offer, saying that the offer undervalues the company. Earlier this month, he asked the company to pay a special dividend of $9 per share. South-eastern Asset Management, too, had opposed Michael Dell’s offer.

According to Fortune, The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) would like to keep Michael Dell on its side. However, if Dell remains with Silver Lake Partners, Blackstone may bring a new chief executive. Potential replacements are former Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) CEO Mark Hurd who is currently working as the president of Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL). Another candidate is Michael Capellas, the former chief of Compaq Computer.

As the technology shifts from PCs to smartphones and tablets, PC makers are struggling. Michael Dell said he planned to take the company private because he can better overhaul the company he founded if he doesn’t have to worry about Wall Street expectations quarter after quarter.

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) shares were up 3.08 percent to $14.57 at 10:31 AM EDT.

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