Icahn withdraws from battle for Dell

Just days before a pivotal shareholder vote the main rival to Michael Dell's plans to take the vendor private have been halted

Michael Dell's plans to take the firm he founded private look like becoming a reality after his rival bidder Carl Icahn revealed he would not pursue efforts to wrestle control of the PC maker.

Icahn has been locked in a battle for the future of the vendor over the past few months and at one point came close enough to potentially scuppering the Michael Dell and Silver Lake offer that a shareholder vote was delayed.

But with the vote looming this week Icahn has prevented Michael Dell from suffering many more sleepless nights after writing an open letter to shareholders that continues to critise his rival's bid but revealed his intention to throw in the towel.

Dell vs Icahn

Dell saga rumbles on as Michael Dell raises bid
25 July - the vote gets pushed back again as shareholders need more time to consider a revised bid

Dell delays shareholder vote
18 July - facing the prospect of a very close result the vote is delayed

Dell attacks Icahn offer
24 June - The special committee looking into the bids attacks Carl Icahn's plans

Icahn makes another attempt to derail Dell private plans
19 June - Icahn makes a third bid offering $14 a share

Dell board asks Icahn to show them the money
13 May - With it just a two horse race the main rival to Michael Dell comes under pressure

Dell confirms private plans
5 February - Michael Dell confirms he wants to transform the firm but away from the pressure of the stock market


Icahn blamed a combination of factors for the decision to withdraw including the recent rise in the bid from Michael Dell and Silver Lake and the lack of support he got from lawmakers in his attempt to use legal means to block the plans to take the vendor private.

"We have therefore come to the conclusion that we will not pursue additional efforts to defeat the Michael Dell/Silver Lake proposal, although we still oppose it and will move to seek appraisal rights," he wrote.

"I realise that some stockholders will be disappointed that we do not fight on. However, over the last decade, mainly through “activism” we have enhanced stockholder value in many companies by billions of dollars. We did not accomplish this by waging battles that we thought we would lose. Michael Dell/Silver Lake waged a hard fought battle and according to Chancellor Strine, the actions by Dell were within the Delaware law. We therefore congratulate Michael Dell and I intend to call him to wish him good luck (he may need it)," he added.

He claimed credit for forcing Dell to up his bid and provide shareholders with more value but took a few final swipes not just at Dell, which he compared to a dictatorship, but also at the firm's board.

"The Dell board, like so many boards in this country, reminds me of Clark Gable's last words in Gone with the Wind, they simply 'don't give a damn'," he concluded.

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