1. Dell's Dissidents
Mutual fund powerhouse T. Rowe Price (TROW) became the latest large Dell shareholder to oppose the PC maker's $13.65-a-share leveraged buyout offer from founder Michael Dell and private equity shop Silver Lake Partners. T. Rowe controlled 4.4% of Dell shares as of Sept. 30. The company joined Southeastern Asset Management, which holds an 8.5% stake, in its opposition to the deal."We believe the proposed buyout does not reflect the value of Dell, and we do not intend to support the offer as put forward," T. Rowe Chief Investment Officer Brian Rogers said in a statement. You ain't lyin', Brian! So far, shareholders with an estimated chunk of 14% of Dell are planning to vote against the deal. And as a result of this growing wave of owner unrest, Dell stock rose above the buyout price to almost $14 Tuesday. In a regulatory filing last Friday, Southeastern valued Dell at about $24 a share, while also indicating that the company has multiple options at creating value for shareholders, who have suffered from the company's 20%-plus one-year share loss. Oh, man. If only they showed such feistiness prior to Michael's LBO maneuver, then maybe he wouldn't be trying to steal the company out from under them in the first place. Wait! We take that back. That was unfair of us. It's not right for us to insinuate that Michael and his private equity comrades are pulling a fast one on Dell's long-suffering shareholders. They did tell the world in a regulatory filing Monday that "the go-shop process provides stockholders an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives that are superior to the present offer." In other words, Dell is telling malcontent stockholders like T. Rowe to find a better buyer if they don't like the price. And the PC -- personal computer -- maker is being anything but PC -- politically correct -- about it.