Carl Icahn Is No Longer in Michael Dell’s Way
Activist investor Carl Icahn, a man known for taking large stakes in companies he judges to be ill-managed or undervalued and pushing for change, began amassing his 8.9 percent stake in the struggling personal computer manufacturer Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) earlier this year. Icahn Enterprises’ (NASDAQ:IEP) investment turned into a bid rivaling the go-private offer made by the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell at the beginning of March.
With Icahn in the lead, many other large shareholders began to oppose the privatization proposal, causing Mr. Dell to postpone the shareholder vote over his bid multiple times, sweeten the bid, and make harsh assessments of his rival’s proposal. The battle between Icahn and Mr. Dell was characterized by a string of strategic maneuvers, from the CEO’s push to change voting rules so that any shareholder who did not cast a vote were not counted as against the deal to the lawsuit Icahn filed in response to the board’s decision to amend the voting rule in return for a higher buyout offer.
However, Mr. Dell won at last. On Monday, Icahn authored an open letter to shareholders in which he announced that he and partner Southeastern Asset Management ”determined that it would be almost impossible to win the battle on September 12,” the date of the much-delayed shareholder vote. “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.”