About that proposed $24.4 billion buyout of Dell: Carl Icahn, known company shaker-upper, doesn't like the sound of the deal, so it looks like he's gone and bought up a big stake in Dell to get his way — in very Icahn-ish fashion, of course. Currently, the deal offers shareholders a buyout at $13.65 per share. Icahn, in his letter to the flailing computer company's board (via AllthingsD), says that this offer "is not in the best interests of Dell shareholders and substantially undervalues the company." Instead, Icahn proposes that the company pay shareholders a special $9-per-share dividend. If Dell's board does not agree, Icahn has threatened a "proxy fight" and "years of litigation."
This heavy-handed new opposition to the buyout, especially because of the way Icahn does things, presents a lot of trouble for Dell, as ZDNet's Larry Dignan explains:
Rest assured, Icahn won't give a hoot about Dell once the dividend is paid out in his scenario. As a result, Dell could have a lot less flexibility---due to debt---to refashion itself as a mini IBM. Dell will also have less cash to compete with Lenovo and HP. It's worth mentioning that both Lenovo and HP are looking at Dell as a potential acquisition (wink wink). Simply put, HP and Lenovo are saying they might be interested in Dell so they can get all the data possible on a rival
It's unclear how much pull Icahn really has with the Dell board based on his latest acquisition, but sources told CNBC that he recently acquired about a 6 percent stake, which would make him the third largest shareholder. So, yeah, he's probably got a lot of pull. Icahn is the second board member to question the deal and has reportedly met with advisers to a special committee of Dell’s board to discuss the buyout, sources told DealBook's Michael De La Merced. Apparently, the board knows about higher bids from HP and Lenovo, sources told Bloomberg. "With Dell’s two biggest outside shareholders already opposing the deal, the fresh interest will only increase pressure on Michael Dell to raise his offer and consider alternative financial partners," explain Bloomberg's Serena Saitto and Dina Bass.