Forbes has released its list of the largest private companies in the U.S., with Dell Inc. being notable among the new names joining the list. Dell debuted at No. 3, but that’s not a shock; while most companies make the list by revenue growth, Dell became private after founder Michael Dell and a private venture firm bought out investors in a $25-billion deal.
That buyout came after a protracted eight-month running battle with investor Carl Icahn, who was vocally critical of Dell’s leadership and ethics.
In a Wall Street Journal editorial after losing the battle, Icahn described Dell as dysfunctional, an example of the “divine right of boards” to ignore voting shareholders. “Instead of deposing him, the Dell board froze out shareholders, and … voted to allow the CEO to buy the company at a bargain price using shareholders’ own cash,” Icahn wrote.
For his part, Dell kept quiet until the deal was finalized, then aired his grievances on CNBC’s Squawk Box. Icahn, who owned no shares in Dell until the buyout attempt, was simply trying to drive up the price and had “no long-term … good intentions for the company or its shareholders or people inside the company,” he said.
Headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, near Austin, Dell employs more than 100,000 people worldwide. Its subsidiaries include custom PC-maker Alienware Corp.,storage area network company Compellent Technologies Inc., network switching company Force 10 Networks Inc., IT Services company Perot Systems Corp. and managed information security company SecureWorks Inc.
Michael Dell started the company from his Austin dorm room in 1984. It went public four years later.