The fight to take Dell Inc. private and overhaul the company is finally over.
Based on a preliminary vote from a special meeting of stockholders Thursday, Dell says the US$24.9 billion deal letting founder and CEO Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners buy the company has been approved.
“I am pleased with this outcome and am energized to continue building Dell into the industry’s leading provider of scalable, end-to-end technology solutions,” Michael Dell said in a statement. “As a private enterprise, with a strong private-equity partner, we’ll serve our customers with a single-minded purpose and drive the innovations that will help them achieve their goals.”
Dell stockholders will receive $13.75 in cash for each share of Dell common stock they hold, plus payment of a special cash dividend of $0.13 per share to stockholders of record as of a date prior to the effective time of the merger, for total consideration of $13.88 per share in cash. The agreement also guarantees the regular quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share for the fiscal third quarter would be paid to holders of record as of a date prior to closing.
The deal still needs regulatory approval. It is expected to close in several months.
Going private will allow Dell to shed staff and products it doesn’t need and consolidate recent acquisitions, moves that will increase its debt — but to do it without having to report every three months to shareholders.
The shareholder approval comes after activist shareholder Carl Icahn gave up his opposition to the deal, saying it undervalued the PC and server manufacturer.
Once one of the leading desktop and laptop makers, Dell has been caught by a number of trends including the shift by buyers to tablet computers. Meanwhile it is trying to shift into software and services.
Earlier this year Ovum analyst Roy Illsley posted a blog outlining what he thought Dell’s direction after attending a company presentation. Over the past year, he noted, Dell has made seven key acquistions to add infrastructure management capabilities into its products as well as to extend client management to all devices.
So, for example, last November Dell bought Gale Technologies, which makes an infrastructure orchestration and automation software platform. Those capabilities are being added to Dell’s vStart line of servers integrated with either VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized platforms.
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