What Do These Earnings Mean for the Dell Buyout?

Given that Michael Dell’s offer to take his namesake company private has nearly precipitated a shareholder revolt — led by several of the PC maker’s biggest investors that believe the $24.4 billion deal severely undervalued the company — Dell’s (NASDAQ:DELL) fourth quarter earnings could have widespread repercussions.

Usually when a company decides to sell itself, quarterly earnings become less important. But in this case, because the deal is facing criticism, the earnings have added value.

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Ahead of the earnings release, expectations were not high; analysts had expected the company’s quarterly results to show the effects of weakening PC demand, and they did. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had anticipated that Dell would report earnings of 39 cents per share on revenue of $14.1 billion, representing a 24 percent decrease in earnings and a 12 percent drop in sales. But the company beat top-line and bottom-line expectations. Dell announced Tuesday that it had generated earnings of 40 cents per share, while revenue came in at $14.3 billion…