Dell pushed back an important shareholder vote until July 24 and said the delay was a necessary step to give stockholders additional time to submit their proxies. The special meeting of Dell stockholders is now set to meet next Wednesday at 5 p.m. (CT) at Dell's Round Rock, Texas, campus. The vote had been scheduled for July 18 at 8 a.m.
Dell announced the delay in the buyout vote by saying only: "Today's Special Meeting of Stockholders was convened and adjourned to provide additional time to solicit proxies from Dell stockholders."
In a joint statement Thursday, Carl Icahn and private-equity firm Southeastern Asset Management said it was "unfortunate" but "not surprising" that the vote was delayed. "We believe that this delay reflects the unhappiness of Dell stockholders with the Michael Dell/Silver Lake offer, which we believe substantially undervalues the company. This is not the time for delay but the time to move Dell forward," the statement read.
Icahn has been battling to keep Dell public and wrest control of the company away from founder and CEO Michael Dell. Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake are hoping shareholders will vote for his plan to pay $13.65 a share and take the company private. The CEO has long argued that taking the company private is a necessary move to help it transition from being a PC manufacturing company to one that sells corporate software and services.
In an open letter to shareholders Wednesday, investor Carl Icahn had urged Dell not to postpone the vote. According to Icahn, a move to postpone the vote would be an attempt by the Special Committee to Dell's board to tip the balance in favor of Michael Dell's plan to take the company private. With the extra time, Icahn said, Dell would be able to woo undecided shareholders to vote its way.
In the letter, Icahn wrote: "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?"
Dell partners have mostly expressed support for Michael Dell's privatization bid. Icahn's plan to keep the company public, channel partners have said, is less desirable. Icahn has stated one of his first orders of business if he gained control of Dell would be to oust Michael Dell from the company's board and shake things up.
PUBLISHED JULY 18, 2013