|By Maureen O'Gara||
|February 14, 2013 08:00 AM EST||
Michael Dell may be facing a stockholders' revolt.
T. Rowe Price, the mutual fund biggie that held 4.4% of Dell at the end of the third quarter, isn't prepared to support the company's leveraged buy-out at the price the Dell board agreed to last week.
T. Rowe Price chairman and chief investment officer Brian Rogers released a statement saying, "We believe the proposed buyout does not reflect the value of Dell and we do not intend to support the offer as put forward."
His position mirrors that of Southeastern Asset Management, which is understood to hold 8.4% of Dell and faces a loss of nearly $400 million if the deal goes down at the $13.65 or $24.4 billion agreed to. It claims Dell is worth $24 a share, a price it hasn't fetched in a long time.
Other smaller institutional investors such as Alpine Capital Research and Schneider Capital have also said they are opposed to the deal.
The opposition currently stands at 18% of the stock against.
Southeastern has hired a proxy solicitor to fight the buy-out.
The stock market has pushed the price of Dell's shares above the offer price, suggesting that collective wisdom holds the deal will be sweetened. It closed Tuesday at $13.79.
The Michael Dell-Silver Lake consortium, which is understood to be opposed to any sweeteners, claims its offer is a 25% premium to where the stock was before the press outed the deal a few weeks before it was finalized.
Minus Michael Dell and other insiders who collectively own 16% of the company, the buy-out has to be approved by a majority of the shareholders.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek thinks shareholders could be bought off with a $15 bid or nearly $27 billion.
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