Data center News
Report: Icahn Considering Whether To Push Dell For More Cash In VMware Stock Swap
The long-running feud between activist investor Carl Icahn and Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell could heat up with Icahn reportedly considering whether or not to push for more cash on the VMware tracking stock share swap.
Icahn is deciding whether to challenge Michael Dell for a higher payout on the VMware tracking stock, according to a report in the New York Post. Icahn, who owns hundreds of millions of dollars of VMware stock as well as the tracking stock for the virtualization market leader, sought to block the private equity deal and wrest control of the company away from Michael Dell in 2013 as Dell sought shareholder approval to take the company private.
Dell confirmed on Monday it has reached an agreement to take the company public again on the New York Stock Exchange as part of a share swap with its DVMT VMware software business tracking stock.
Dell, which owns 82 percent of the publicly held VMware, said it is planning on exchanging each share of the DVMT tracking stock for 1.3665 shares of Dell Technologies common stock, or $109 per share.
The transaction is subject to the approval of DVMT shareholders.
The VMware tracking stock was trading at $93.65 in midmorning trading on Tuesday, $15.35 below the $109 per share offer by Dell for the VMware tracking stock shares.
CRN reached out to Icahn and Dell Technologies for comment but had not heard back at press time. VMware declined to comment.
One top executive solution provider, who partners with Dell and VMware, said Icahn has a history of disrupting deals.
"He might try to somehow disrupt the deal or just make some noise, or maybe just get under Michael [Dell's] skin," said the executive, who did not wish to be identified. "[Icahn] doesn't bring anything to the table as far as channel partners are concerned. I'm not sure he wants to provide a smooth transition for Dell.... He and Michael don't see eye to eye on many things."
At CRN's 2014 Best of Breed Conference, Michael Dell told an audience of several hundred of the country's top solution providers that Icahn "is a bad guy."
"He lies. He has no ethical boundaries. He will say anything, do anything. I have no time for him," Michael Dell said of Icahn.
Michael Dell said on Monday that short-term Dell investors "came to the wrong company."
"I believe that given the structure that we have and the momentum that we have and the set of assets that we have, that we can continue to invest for the long term, and that is absolutely what we intend to do," Dell said in an interview with CNBC. "Any shareholder that says we want you to do this to optimize for the short term, not the medium or the long term, you came to the wrong company. I'm the ultimate long-term investor in my own company."
Dell isn't the only large IT company that Icahn has recently challenged. In May, Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson and six of the company's other board members agreed to resign in order to avoid an impending proxy contest and settle a lawsuit brought by activist investors including Icahn. Icahn was one of two large shareholders who strongly objected to a proposed takeover of the company by Fujifilm Holdings.