Dell CEO ups ante in buyout battle for PC maker

August 2, 2013 • Business

FILE – In this Nov. 2, 2010, file photo, Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Inc., speaks during a meeting in Hong Kong. Dell’s board has agreed to an increased offer from founder Michael Dell that would add a special dividend to shareholders. Shareholders were scheduled to vote Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, on a lower offer to buy the company but that vote has been postponed. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) — Just when it looked as if he might be vanquished, Dell CEO Michael Dell has regained the advantage in a lengthy battle to buy the slumping personal computer maker that he founded nearly 30 years ago. He did it by persuading the company’s board to accept a slightly better offer that adds a one-time dividend in exchange for a pivotal change in how shareholders will vote on the deal.

The latest twist in the six-month saga emerged Friday shortly before Dell Inc. was scheduled to hold a shareholder vote on the company’s proposed sale to Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners for $24.4 billion, or $13.65 per share.

Michael Dell wants to further diversify a company that has had trouble adapting to the growing use of smartphones and tablet computers over the desktops and laptops that Dell Inc. makes. He believes he has a better chance of turning the company around in the long term if it is in private hands, away from the quarter-to-quarter scrutiny of Wall Street.

But the deal to buy out the company appeared destined to fail at that price, which had been skewered as a rip-off by a throng of rebellious shareholders led by billionaire Carl Icahn and a long-time company shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management. The vote had already been delayed twice as Michael Dell’s group tried to rally support.

In a Friday statement, Icahn said “the war regarding Dell is far from over.” He vowed to keep fighting Michael Dell’s takeover attempt. Southeastern Asset said it’s “extremely disappointed” with the decision of Dell’s board.

Last week, Michael Dell and Silver Lake submitted a higher Login to read more

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