Carl Icahn's first crack at fighting Dell in court to derail a $24.4 billion buyout will have to wait until Friday. On Monday, Judge Leo Strine Jr. of Delaware Chancery Court postponed billionaire investor Icahn's request to have his lawsuit against Dell fast-tracked. The hearing, stemming from a lawsuit filed Aug. 1, had been set for Monday morning.
Icahn and investment partner Southeastern Asset Management sued Dell in an attempt to, among other things, stop a change in the record date -- the date shareholders must have owned shares to be eligible to vote -- and force Dell to hold the annual meeting and the shareholder vote on the same day.
The Friday, Aug. 16, hearing will give Icahn a chance to push to have the court in Delaware court fast-track his claim that the annual meeting and shareholder meeting should be held before Sept. 15 on the same day.
[Related: Dell Buyout Vote: 10 FAQs And Answers]
The court proceedings are part of the larger drama involving Dell CEO Michael Dell's attempt to take Dell private and reinvent the company out of the spotlight of Wall Street investors. Icahn has thrown a monkey wrench in Michael Dell's efforts and proposed a counteroffer that would oust Dell's CEO, replace the company's board of directors and keep the company public.
Michael Dell and financial backer Silver Lake originally proposed a $13.65-a-share buyback price in an attempt to privatize his company. On Aug. 2, Michael Dell increased his bid by a dime, raising his offer to $13.75, and added a special dividend of 13 cents a share. In exchange for sweetening the deal, Dell agreed to change the shareholder voting rules and postpone the vote until Sept. 12.
Icahn sued to stop the rule changes, and in his hearing request to fast-track the lawsuit he stated stockholders "will suffer irreparable harm." Icahn said -- under current rules -- the buyout "is nearly certain to be approved through an unfair vote" in Michael Dell's favor.
In related news Icahn financial partner Southeastern disclosed it sold over half its Dell shares to Icahn in its second-quarter quarterly letter to shareholders. It also said it was committed to backing Icahn's opposition of Michael Dell's leveraged buyout.
"Southeastern continues to oppose the offer and will work with Icahn Enterprises to ensure that Dell has the right leadership who will focus the company on its profitable and growing enterprise business while allowing long-term shareholders to participate in its long-term success," wrote O. Mason Hawkins, chairman of the board and CEO of Southeastern, in the SEC filing.
PUBLISHED AUG. 12, 2013