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Dell Shareholders Mull Stay or Go

NEW YORK ( TheDeal) -- The two new offers Dell Inc. received by the expiration of the go-shop period on March 22 from Carl Icahn and a consortium led by Blackstone Group LP have one thing in common: They give shareholders the option either to stay with a still-public company or to cash out.

"We are pleased that the alternative proposals submitted to the Dell special committee are structured to give shareholders the opportunity to continue to participate in the company's future prospects, while also providing a higher cash component for shareholders who choose to exit their investment," said shareholder Southeastern Asset Management, which holds an 8.4% stake in Dell.

The latest offers, which the company revealed Monday, March 25, allow shareholders to cash out of Dell at a higher price than the $13.65 per share that Michael Dell and Silver Lake have already offered, if they so choose. While Blackstone's consortium is offering more than $14.25 per share, Icahn's bid offers those taking their leave $15 per share.

It's not known what Michael Dell's fate at the company he founded would be if any of the rival bids succeed. The CEO has said that he is willing to explore the possibility of working with third parties regarding alternative offers, however.

Icahn's offer is for a 58% stake in Dell, leaving the remainder of the company publicly traded. Although Icahn has not said whether retaining Michael Dell is in his plans, he started raising his nearly 4.6% stake only after Southeastern kicked up a fuss about the CEO's offer to acquire the company alongside Silver Lake, meaning his involvement is more as an opportunist than an aggrieved shareholder.

Blackstone, meanwhile, will apparently take as much of Dell as it can get, since it hasn't put a limit on its stake. The firm did not specify if it would want Michael Dell to continue running the company. However, it has been reported that Blackstone is eyeing other people for the CEO post in case its bid succeeds.

Dell's stock price has risen 36.6% so far this year, buoyed by the buyout news. Shares gained 2.6% on Monday to close at $14.51.
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