Will Dell turn into an enterprise powerhouse – or crash and burn?
Last month, Michael Dell announced a $24 billion deal to take Dell, the company he founded, off the stock market and back into his own hands. The plan is an attempt to escape the greed of shareholders and buy time to make the transition to a full-cream enterprise company. Do you think he can do it?
Michael Dell is committed to this – he has put in $750 million of his own money and accepted a lower value for his own shares, which are being used in the bid at $13.36 per share [to be honest, we are not sure if this means he will be buying his own shares -editor], instead of the $13.65 being offered to other shareholders.
The deal has backing from Microsoft – though the software colossus stopped short of actually taking part-ownership of the PC maker transforming into a business computing vendor. Most observers believe the payoff for Redmond will be in increased commitment to Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform and tablets.
A bat out of Dell
Despite this, some Dell shareholders are resisting the deal – which hinges on whether enough institutional investors decide to accept the premium price which the deal’s major backer, Silver Lake Partners. Once a large majority has accepted the deal, there are mechanisms to force the rest to accept the terms.
The whole idea behind the deal is that Dell is still seen as a PC maker, despite a series of acquisitions that make it a serious player in storage, networks and software, as well as services and the emerging market of the cloud.
At the moment, Dell is trying to establish itself as an enterprise player, while it is buffeted by the harsh winds of the stock market, which expects ever-increasing profits and follows every turn of the company’s quarterly accounts like a hawk.
Backed by venture capitalists, Michael Dell believes he will have enough time to make Dell into a serious rival for IBM, and eclipse the currently-bewildered looking HP.
But his backers will have only a limited amount of patience.
Tell us what you think! Will Dell emerge revitalised? Or will the whole buyout fall apart so we never find out?
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