The drama involving Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) isn’t over until it’s over. On Monday the influential shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) surprisingly backed the leveraged buyout proposal from Michael Dell and the private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Now it’s Donald Yacktman’s turn to announce who he’s backing in the fight, and he’s siding with Carl Icahn.
Yacktman Backs Icahn
Reuters’ Jennifer Saba reports that Yacktman Asset Management, which owns almost 15 million shares of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), has officially thrown its support behind Icahn’s offer. Yacktan believes that the leveraged buyout offer from Mr. Dell is holding the stock back and that a change in the company’s board might improve the company’s situation and possible even enhance value for shareholders.
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The Offers For Dell
Icahn partnered with Southeastern Asset Management in his offer, which enables shareholders to tender 1.1 billion shares for $14 apiece. However, his bid won’t even be put up for a vote by shareholders unless they reject the buyout offer made by Mr. Dell and his partner Silver Lake. Shareholders must also elect Icahn’s full slate of directors before his proposal can even be put up for a vote.
Founder and CEO Michael Dell made the original buyout offer for his company earlier this year. It involves paying shareholders $13.65 per share and then taking the PC maker private. Icahn has said that he believes the offer significantly undervalues the company and robs shareholders of the ability to benefit from future profits.
However, when ISS backed Mr. Dell’s offer, the firm said that the offer protected shareholders from the uncertainty involving the declining PC industry. The fact that ISS has backed Mr. Dell’s offer makes it look as if he might prevail, but if other major investors join Yacktman in taking sides with Icahn, it could shift the possibility over to his side.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL)’s special committee will be meeting with a number of the company’s major shareholders in an effort to sway them to its side. Shareholders won’t vote on the issue until later this month, and there’s no doubt the drama will continue to unfold.