Dell may not go private after all. In February, the PC maker agreed to terms on a deal that would see investment firm Silver Lake Partners and Michael Dell himself buy back shares of the company. That deal still hasn't been approved by shareholders, and it now has some competition. Dell has received alternative proposals from two competing groups, and both would allow current shareholders to keep their stock.
The first proposal comes from a group that includes Blackstone Management Associates, the Boulder Acquisition Corp, Francisco Partners III, and Insight Venture Management. This deal would offer stockholders "greater than" $14.25 per share, which seems to be the starting point for negotiations. The original Silver Lake deal called for shareholders to be paid $13.65 per share, so the Blackstone group is offering about a 4% premium.
The second bid comes from Icahn Enterprises, and it, too, includes a little something extra. Under this proposal, Dell stockholders would be offered $15 per share, or about 10% more than the current deal. As with the Blackstone proposal, shareholders would have the option of holding onto their stock.
Neither of the proposals details a vision for Dell's future in the technology world, but both are being considered by the Dell board. Alex Mandl, Chairman of the Special Committee charged with evaluating the proposals, had this to say:
We are gratified by the success of our go-shop process that has yielded two alternative proposals with the potential to create additional value for Dell shareholders. We intend to work diligently with all three potential acquirers to ensure the best possible outcome for Dell shareholders, whichever transaction that may be.
According to the press release, the proposals aren't detailed enough to determine whether they'll deliver superior value to shareholers. Negotiations are ongoing, and it will be interesting to see if either bid can overcome the existing deal.
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