Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Olivier Huynh Van, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Icahn Lashes Out at Dell Board & Dell Himself

"Dell has a major liability that can be easily removed.... It is the CEO, Michael Dell"

After joining with Southeastern Asset Management in signing an open letter to Dell’s special board committee – which is wrestling with Michael Dell’s offer to pay $13.75 a share, 10 cents more a share, to change how the stockholders vote on his leverage buy-out offer is counted – telling the special committee he expected them to tell Michael Dell “no” – activist investor Carl Icahn wrote another open letter to Dell shareholders characterizing Michael Dell as a “whining” “sore loser” and major corporate “liability” and castigating the Dell board for “making a mockery of what little is left of corporate democracy at Dell.”

He tells them that “If my past record is any indication, I believe you will be happier and richer if you join me in voting against the Michael Dell/Silver Lake deal....It is time for Michael Dell and the Dell Board to go.”

Dell stock, which closed Monday, at $12.87, off seven cents from Friday, was suggestively rising after-hours to around $12.94 as the letter circulated.

The letter in its entirety reads:

"Dear Fellow Dell Stockholders:

In their Merger Agreement, Michael Dell/Silver Lake agreed with the Dell Board that they would purchase Dell if, and only if, a majority of the outstanding shares held by unaffiliated stockholders voted in favor of the transaction. In that Merger Agreement, the Dell Board agreed with Michael Dell/Silver Lake that none of the current stockholders would be allowed to own shares in the newly formed company – they would be frozen out. Further, the Dell Board agreed, wrongly in my opinion, to let Michael Dell/Silver Lake purchase the stock at what I view is a very undervalued price.

Even though the Dell Board and Michael Dell/Silver Lake agreed that a majority of the outstanding stock held by unaffiliated stockholders would be required to approve the transaction, and even made that provision of the Merger Agreement non-waivable, this required vote has not been achieved. Reports have indicated, and it is clearly the case, that Michael Dell/Silver Lake did not have sufficient stockholder support at either the July 18 or July 24 meetings.

Instead of accepting defeat with dignity, Michael Dell, in his interview with The Wall Street Journal, complained that the Merger Agreement he negotiated is unfair. This is the very Merger Agreement that Michael Dell/Silver Lake agreed to, and ironically, Michael Dell, not the stockholders, initiated this proposed transaction. Is it Michael Dell's alter ego who keeps whining about the unfairness of an agreement that he himself asked the Dell Board to accept?

I might be able to understand the actions of Michael Dell, who does not wish to lose a golden opportunity, but I cannot understand the actions of the Dell Board. The Dell Board approved a merger at what I believe to be a very undervalued price but they at least made it clear that an affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding unaffiliated shares would be required to accept the Michael Dell/Silver Lake proposal, first at a meeting on July 18, and then again, on July 24. But reports indicate that Michael Dell/Silver Lake did not have the necessary stockholder support to approve their proposed transaction at either of the scheduled meetings. The stockholders have spoken. Additionally, millions of shares of Dell stock have been traded since the Dell Board signed the Merger Agreement which included the non-waivable stockholder approval requirement – a provision that Michael Dell now wishes to change. What about the stockholders that purchased and sold shares of Dell stock based on this provision? Why does the Dell Board continue this travesty? Why do they make a mockery of what little is left of corporate democracy at Dell?

In The Wall Street Journal interview, Michael Dell criticizes the fact that Icahn was not a stockholder when the process started. In effect, he seems to be saying that Icahn has no right to meddle with Michael Dell’s “super Dell” deal. I am also confused by Michael Dell’s statement that “after one of the most thorough processes in history the highest price that any of the parties was willing to pay was $13.65.” But what about our proposed Dell self-tender offer, which we believe has a total value to tendering stockholders of approximately $15.50 to $18 per share?* I guess Michael Dell believes a bid doesn’t count if it is made by someone who didn’t own the shares when the process began. Michael Dell should remember that it was he, not us, who put a value on the company, thereby placing it in auction, and Michael Dell and the Dell Board would do well to understand that in an auction, even a Dell auction, anyone has the right to bid.

Michael Dell spent many months crafting a merger agreement that would not only “freeze out” all unaffiliated stockholders but would also make it nearly insurmountable for anyone to make a competing bid. Michael Dell is correct when he says the Merger Agreement that he and the Dell Board agreed to is unfair. I believe it is unfair to the stockholders because of its effect on anyone who wishes to make a competing bid. Because of the inclusion of matching rights in favor of Michael Dell/Silver Lake, a competing bidder carries significant risk that their bid would just be topped by Michael Dell/Silver Lake, in which case they would have paid sizeable fees for financing commitments yet be without a deal, a situation we believe is unfair. If a competing bidder is effectively used as a stalking horse against the Michael Dell/Silver Lake transaction, it is reasonable to expect that the Merger Agreement should permit the company to enter into an arrangement with the competing bidder to receive a break-up fee to cover its financing expenses. I guess Michael Dell and his army of advisors did not count on anyone being willing to put up $3 billion of their own money in order to put forth an alternative proposal to Dell’s offer – but miracles do happen.

Conclusion Concerning The Wall Street Journal Interview Where Michael Dell Shows His True Colors

Throughout the interview Michael Dell makes statements such as “my focus throughout has been to our company’s customers and partners.” He states again “my focus first and foremost has been on the company and our employees, customers and partners.” Except in the context of having his deal pushed across the finish line, Michael Dell barely mentions the company’s stockholders. I guess he loses focus when the stockholders come into view. Michael Dell states that “we could do what we needed to do better and faster as a private company.” He has, therefore, for the good of the company, determined he must deny all stockholders the right to participate in the possible good fortunes of Dell in the future. The interview neglected to ask, or possibly Michael Dell refused to answer: “Did you ever once offer, or did the ‘independent committee’ ever ask you to offer, your stockholders a contingent value right or warrant so that they might also be able to participate in the good fortune that might result from you taking Dell private?”

Why I Am Involved

Our system of corporate governance in this country is dysfunctional. In my opinion, boards are empowered to do ridiculous and even inconceivable things to take advantage of stockholders. I have railed against this fact for years. But no one would believe, and with good reason, that I would risk $3 billion because I am outraged at the treatment of stockholders at Dell. While I am enraged, the major reason I am involved is that I believe the Michael Dell/Silver Lake transaction undervalues the company. I have spent many hours discussing Dell with experts, and there are many reasons to believe Michael Dell/Silver Lake’s proposal materially undervalues the company.

Perhaps the most important reason is Dell has a major liability that can be easily removed and that I believe would make the company a great deal of value. It is the CEO, Michael Dell. If Dell can replace Michael Dell, I think that the company would be worth far, far more. I do not say this facetiously. I fully expect to be able to identify a first-class person to run Dell if our slate of directors are elected at the annual meeting. Icahn has a history of bringing in strong new CEO’s that have gotten good results (for example, consider our activities in Biogen and Motorola, to name a few) and Icahn and Southeastern are beginning to see success in replacing top management at Chesapeake Energy. Bringing in a new CEO, unhampered by Michael Dell and the old regime, is in my opinion, both effective and necessary when attempting to turn a company around. It has often been my experience that removal of an underperforming CEO will allow a company to become more productive, more competitive and more profitable and has helped create billions in stockholder value for the companies that I have been involved with. If my past record is any indication, I believe you will be happier and richer if you join me in voting against the Michael Dell/Silver Lake deal. Finally, I can't help but note that Michael Dell has fared much better selling over 62 million shares in the $32 to $40 range over different periods in the past 10 years. Unfortunately for stockholders, he seems to be a much better market-timer than a CEO. It is time for Michael Dell and the Dell Board to go.

Sincerely,

Carl C. Icahn

Icahn Enterprises LP

* Estimates are based upon the assumptions and calculations set forth in Definitive Additional Materials that we filed with the SEC on July 12, 2013 and July 16, 2013 and reflect only an illustration of the implied value of Dell based upon those assumptions and calculations. The foregoing and the information contained in the Definitive Additional Materials are not a prediction of the specific future market value of Dell stock or any warrant.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let’s say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
FinTech is the sum of financial and technology, and it’s one of the fastest growing tech industries. Total global investments in FinTech almost reached $50 billion last year, but there is still a great deal of confusion over what it is and what it means – especially as it applies to retirement. Building financial startups is not simple, but with the right team, technology and an innovative approach it can be an extremely interesting domain to disrupt. FinTech heralds a financial revolution that...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Imagine having the ability to leverage all of your current technology and to be able to compose it into one resource pool. Now imagine, as your business grows, not having to deploy a complete new appliance to scale your infrastructure. Also imagine a true multi-cloud capability that allows live migration without any modification between cloud environments regardless of whether that cloud is your private cloud or your public AWS, Azure or Google instance. Now think of a world that is not locked i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
MongoDB Atlas leverages VPC peering for AWS, a service that allows multiple VPC networks to interact. This includes VPCs that belong to other AWS account holders. By performing cross account VPC peering, users ensure networks that host and communicate their data are secure. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jay Gordon, a Developer Advocate at MongoDB, will explain how to properly architect your VPC using existing AWS tools and then peer with your MongoDB Atlas cluster. He'll discuss the secur...
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., will discuss how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advanta...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, will present a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to max...
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.