Dell delays shareholder vote on going private

The company says the shareholder vote over founder Michael Dell's plan to take it private will take place next week.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.
Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas. Dell

Dell shareholders will have another week to consider whether Michael Dell's $24.4 billion buyout deal is worth taking.

Dell announced Thursday, just hours before the company was to hold a vote on whether it should be taken private, that it has postponed the vote until July 24. The meeting next week will provide shareholders with the opportunity to vote on whether they should accept the buyout deal or nix Michael Dell's offer.

The move on Dell's part doesn't come as much of a surprise. Although the board's special committee, which was charged with evaluating the offer, as well as shareholder advising firms, have all endorsed the buyout, activist investor Carl Icahn has declined to take his own, alternative offer off the table. Icahn, who partnered with Southeastern Asset Management, has offered shareholders $14 per share in cash, as well as a single warrant for every four shares they sell. That warrant can be redeemed at anytime in the next seven years for one Dell share at $20.

Icahn, who along with his partners, currently owns a 13 percent stake in Dell, argues that Michael Dell's offer of $13.65 per share undervalues the company. Icahn is also suspect of Dell's plan to privatize the company.

The trouble for Michael Dell and his partner, Silver Lake Partners, seemed to be mounting as the shareholder vote crept closer. Major brokerage houses, including T. Rowe Price, which owns Dell shares, have come out against the Michael Dell deal. And with Icahn continuing in his bid to convince other shareholders that his deal is superior, it wasn't clear whether Silver Lake and Michael Dell could get enough votes to move forward on their proposal.

What happens next is uknown. However, it's possible that Dell and Silver Lake will improve their offer in the next few days to increase their chances of gaining shareholder approval at next week's vote.

CNET has contacted Dell on what its founder's next move might be. We will update this story when we have more information.