So much for that. The special stockholder meeting that was called to vote on Dell’s go-private transaction, convened Thursday… and was then adjourned without any vote. A new meeting is now slated for 5 p.m. central time, July 24.
This is not a good sign for the Michael Dell-Silver Lake Partners-led $24.4 billion bid to take the PC-and-server giant private. Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management have a competing bid on the table that would keep Dell publicly traded. Their argument is that the Dell founder and his cohort have dramatically undervalued the company. On Monday, T. Rowe Price, another institutional investor weighed in against the deal on Monday
On Monday, in another public letter to Dell shareholders, Icahn wrote that the rationale for a take-private deal is cooked:
They tell us about the profitable PC market drastically declining and point to their quarterly numbers. But they neglect to point out the reduction in margin is of their own doing because they have, of their own volition, lowered prices which obviously have drastically reduced margins. But even Dell’s own management believes this is temporary.
Critics maintain that Dell-Silver Lake would be getting the company at a fire sale price, and would probably then cut costs and sell off the pieces at a huge profit.
In a joint letter released Thursday when it became apparent that the vote might be pushed back, Icahn and Southeastern registered their disapproval:
“Can you imagine a political election contest where one side could push off the election to wait for a better day to hold the election – a date when it is hoped they might do better in the vote than they would have done on the originally scheduled election date? We think that if the company wishes to be true to the Special Committee’s undertaking to ‘leave the final decision with disinterested stockholders,’ then the company must allow a final vote to be completed on July 18, and not try to postpone the vote to a later date.”
Again, so much for that.