Dell Speaks Out In Favor Of Deal

Jun 24 2013 | 11:10am ET

Michael Dell has proven reticent about talking publicly about his $24.4 billion buyout deal for his namesake computer-maker. But with a shareholder vote less than a month away and the proposal under fresh attack by Carl Icahn, Dell on Friday urged investors to back the deal.

Dell issued an eight-page presentation arguing that Dell Inc.'s turnaround must be done privately, away from the prying eyes and building pressures of Wall Street.

"As a public company, we must take a more cautious approach to our transformation, because we must consider how our stock price will react to the steps we take and what effect that will have on the company and on customers and employees," the CEO wrote. "This hurts the speed and efficacy of the transformation and isn't good for the long-term health of the company."

The presentation, which lays out many of the difficulties previously cited by the special committee of Dell's board, which is also pushing for the deal, is the first time Michael Dell has spoken publicly about the buyout, which would be done in conjunction with private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Michael Dell is currently meeting with proxy advisory Institutional Shareholder Services, whose recommendation on the buyout could be the difference between its success or failure.

Michael Dell also plans to meet soon with Dell shareholders to push for their support.

For his part, Icahn, who last week changed tack in his battle against the buyout, dropping a proposed leveraged recapitalization in favor of a push to take control of Dell's board and begin a $16 billion share buyback program, remains unconvinced.

"I have one simple question: If the company is so bad, why is Mr. Dell fighting so hard to buy it?"

Dell has pledged his $4.5 billion in Dell shares to the buyout. But he cannot vote the 18% of shares that he controls in favor of the deal.

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