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US billionaire investor Carl Icahn reviews Dell’s books

Warwick Ashford

Investor Carl Icahn says he will review the books of PC maker Dell, as he tries to prevent the sale of the company to founder Michael Dell.

Carl Icahn said in a statement that he had signed an agreement that will allow him to see confidential financial information about Dell, according to the Telegraph.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn entered the fray over the proposed sale of Dell last week in support of top shareholders, who say company is worth more than Michael Dell and his consortium are offering.

Michael Dell and US private equity firm Silver Lake made the $24bn offer in February, with a $2bn loan from Microsoft, to buy back the computer company he founded in 1984.

The offer translates to $13.65 a share, but the company’s second- and third-largest investors – Southeastern Asset Management and T Rowe Price – say the company is worth $24 a share.

Analysts said Michael Dell is betting that taking the company private will make it easier to boost the company’s fortunes, by shifting to software and services in the face of a shrinking PC market

Last week, Icahn urged the board to commit to the special dividend of $9 a share if shareholders vote against the sale to Michael Dell and Silver Lake.

If Dell's board fails to make the commitment, Icahn warned he would seek to replace the board with directors who would approve his plan.

Icahn said his plan values each Dell share at $22.81, which is closer to the valuation by Dell’s biggest shareholders than the offer from Michael Dell and Silver Lake.

Analysts said the opposition from Icahn will put more pressure on Michael Dell and his backers to raise their offer.

Last week, Dell’s board said that any rival bids have to be made by 22 March 2013.


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