With the funding he says he needs in place, Carl Icahn is looking forward to a future in which he controls Dell Inc.—and names the computermaker’s next CEO.
Icahn, who has secured $5.2 billion in financing for a proposed $16 billion share buyback program, pledged yesterday to find an “excellent” CEO to run the struggling company. Dell’s current CEO, founder Michael Dell, is behind a $24.4 billion buyout deal that Icahn opposes.
Icahn told CNBC that he’s held talks with a number of potential CEOs, although none is willing to commit until it is clearer that Icahn might win control of the company. “Nobody really wants to go into a beehive,” he said. “You want to know pretty much where you stand.”
That could take a while: Icahn and his partners, Southeastern Asset Management, first must convince shareholders to reject Dell’s deal, backed by private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners, on July 18. Then, they must win control of Dell’s board in a proxy battle.
Dell has said that Icahn’s plan faces a $2.9 billion funding shortfall, even with the arranged financing. Icahn rejects the company’s claims, and told CNBC that it is “self-evident that we have a superior offer.”