With Dell shareholders just a few days from voting on the company's future, Carl Icahn has upped his offer in a proposal he claims could net stakeholders up to $18 (£12) a share.
In an open letter to shareholders sent on Friday, the activist investor and his backers Southeastern Asset Management unveiled a new self-tender offer. The deal would allow shareholders to cash in up to 71 per cent of their Dell stock – and potentially more, if the deal is not fully subscribed – for $14 per share.
Additionally, each share sale will come with a warrant, allowing the holder to repurchase shares at $20 a pop at any time in the next seven years. Icahn says this takes the total value of his proposal to between $15.50 and $18 a share, compared with Michael Dell and Silver Lake's flat $13.65 a share offer. Icahn claimed that criticisms of his proposal have been unfair.
"In our opinion ISS (Institutional Shareholder Services) has done a great disservice to stockholders by making a recommendation focused on the criticism that stockholders cannot 'immediately' be paid $14 in cash even if they vote down the proposed Michael Dell/Silver Lake freeze-out transaction," he writes.
"We believe this is a misguided criticism because stockholders will also not "immediately" receive the $13.65 from Dell even if they vote in favour of the Michael Dell/Silver Lake freeze-out transaction. In fact, we believe that our proposed Dell self-tender transaction would close sooner than the Michael Dell/Silver Lake transaction, which Dell has said it expects to close 'during the third quarter of the Company's current fiscal year, which quarter will end on 1 November 1,' and which is subject to the condition that they obtain anti-trust approval from regulators in China."
Later in the missive, Icahn fired the latest personal salvo in what has become an increasingly fractious media war of words between the acquisition rivals. He criticised the recent leadership performance of Dell's eponymous leader and pledged to bring in fresh blood at the top table if his bid succeeds.
"We are also completely committed to bringing in management that we expect to be far superior to Michael Dell (pictured above left) who we believe has had an abysmal record during the past three years," he explains. "We believe there would be several excellent candidates for this position who would be very interested in running this company once a clear mandate has been established."
Dell shareholders are due to vote on the company's future on Thursday.
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