Investor Carl Icahn and challenger to the Dell crown
announced today that he was exiting the effort to prevent Michael Dell's effort to take the company private. With Icahn pulling out of the competition for the company, the shareholders have few other options than voting for the deal, and recouping $13.75 per share
as a result of the buyout deal.
"The Dell board, like so many boards in this country, reminds me of Clark Gable's last words in Gone with the Wind
," Icahn wrote in his letter retracting his offer for the company, adding "they simply 'don't give a damn'." Icahn had argued that the $25 billion deal by founder Michael Dell undervalued the company, and his offer to keep the company public would result in a better outcome for everybody, and not just Dell himself.
Icahn's offer trumped Dell and Silver Lake's $13.75 per share offer by offering a value of up to $18 per share, with the company remaining public. Icahn also claimed that after his deal was accepted, he would fire the existing board
, and force Michael Dell out of the company he founded. The current special meeting of shareholders is set for September 12, with an annual shareholder meeting on October 17.
Southeastern Asset Management, another vocal opponent of the Michael Dell buyout, will lose at least $825 million if the privatization deal completes as Michael Dell has proposed. Icahn's withdrawal from the deal is the last major offer on the table competing with Dell's own. The company has dramatically cut its forecasts for 2013 operating profit by $700 million, to an estimated $3 billion.
Icahn said he was "saddened at our losing the battle to control Dell," but did note that shareholders would receive a bit more money out of the deal than they would have otherwise had he not involved himself in the process. He reportedly congratulated Michael Dell, and said that he would eventually call to wish him good luck with the company's turnaround.