Icahn Believe It: Carl Wants New Dell CEO, Maybe Buy HP's PC Business


It's been a busy Friday for Carl Icahn.

The chairman of Icahn Enterprises released a letter, co-signed by Southeastern Asset Management, blasting Dell and warning the board that if they continued with the proposed $24.4 billion leveraged buyout by Silver Lake partners, they will "face the legal liability for [their] failures."

Icahn later appeared on CNBC and said that Dell's offer is "almost grand larceny" and that Dell CEO Michael Dell would not run the company if his offer with Southeastern is approved by shareholders. He compared Dell's deal with Silver Lake as "almost like something out of Saturday Night Live."

[Related: Behind The Scenes Of Dell's Decision To Go Private: Part II]

"The shareholders in this care are literally getting screwed. You can camouflage with the numbers, but $13.65 is a giveaway," Icahn told CNBC. "I think it's ridiculous. It's really a travesty."

Icahn also appeared on Bloomberg television Friday and said that Dell could look to sell off the PC business or even look to acquire a PC business, such as Hewlett-Packard.

"We think there's a chance the PC business could be acquired or that we might acquire somebody in the PC business, like Hewlett-Packard. There's many iterations of this," Icahn said on Bloomberg. "There's a shot down the road that we could, with the PC business, could merge with a Hewlett-Packard or acquire their PC business. Hewlett-Packard, like us, are divided [between PC and enterprise solutions]. We should be divided sooner or later."

Icahn went on to say that Dell Software is undervalued. "You have not even seen the real fruition of those acquisitions in the software business," Icahn said.

Icahn told Bloomberg that the board should find his offer with Southeastern Asset Management, which calls for payment of $12 per share and the right to retain shares, a superior one.

"If they don't find our offer superior, we will work to defeat the Dell offer. Southeastern and I will vote against it. We have 14 percent. We think many [shareholders] will vote against it," Icahn told Bloomberg. "We are hopeful to get that defeated. Once we defeat that, shareholders can take [our] offer."

Icahn's remarks stumped Michael Gavaghen, vice president of sales at SLPowers, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Dell partner.

"So his thinking is he either wants to be the dominant guy in the space or not be in it at all? If he wants to sell the PC business, maybe SLPowers wants to buy it. I'm spending [CEO Rory Sanchez's] money here, but hey," joked Gavaghen.

On a more serious note, Gavaghen was concerned that Icahn would remove Dell as CEO.

"The show works really well for us with Michael [Dell]," he said. "Our experience as a Dell partner has been almost uniformly positive since we got involved. We don't see this as a relationship that needs repairing. That would be the part that would concern me."

PUBLISHED MAY 10, 2013