Dell buyout meeting takes place today

After last-minute attempts to sway reluctant shareholders, will Michael Dell's plan to take the PC maker private gain traction?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

In Texas today, Dell shareholders will meet to vote on the company founder's plans to take the firm private.


Michael Dell, company CEO and founder, has offered shareholders $24.4 billion, or $13.65 a share. Some investors believe that this is undervaluing the worth of the PC maker, and while some have made legal complaints, Carl Icahn and Southeastern have recommended alternative deals for shareholders.

However, the original meeting was adjourned last week after both Michael Dell and partner Silver Lake failed to secure enough preliminary positive votes from investors to push forward with the plans.

After delaying the meeting, Michael Dell and the company's special committee once again reached out to shareholders. The company founder visited the largest investors in person, while smaller investing parties were catered for by the committee. A number of proxy firms reached out to individual investors over the last week.

Investing parties which own 20 percent of Dell shares have not cast their votes -- which is counted as as refusal of the deal.

Today at Dell's headquarters on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, the vote could decide the fate of the PC giant -- unless delayed once more. However, Dell share prices may suffer the consequences of uncertainty if the deal falls through.

Some Dell investors -- including T.Rowe and Icahn -- remain firmly opposed to the buyout offer. However, others including BlackRock and State Street recast their vote to accept Michael Dell's wishes at the last minute, which may have been a tactical decision after ascertaining that the current $24.4 billion buyout price would not be raised.

Michael Dell argues that taking the company private is a necessary step to ensure the company's survival. By taking Dell private, the CEO will be able to restructure the PC maker without the eyes of Wall Street on its back. As the PC market fades into the background in the face of mobile technology including tablets and smartphones, consumer demand patterns have shifted -- leaving Dell with less-than-healthy future prospects. As a result, some investors would like to see the company's focus shifted towards business computing services.

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