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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: May 17

Stocks in this article: SPPI SNE DELL WMT

3. Dell Depresses

Sad to say, but this Dell (DELL) deal has officially devolved from dumb to depressing.

The pitiful PC-maker, now locked in a war between billionaire Carl Icahn and founder Michael Dell, announced Tuesday it was reporting its fiscal first-quarter results five days ahead of schedule on Thursday May 16. And if that unexpected bit of weirdness wasn't enough, the WSJ officially leaked -- yeah, we don't get that either -- that Dell was going to post earnings of 20 cents a share for the period, a full 15 cents shy of Wall Street analyst expectations.

Miraculously, that's exactly what happened! The sad sack of a company stepped up to the plate and called its own very sorry shot. Well, they actually delivered 21 cents on Thursday afternoon, so they beat their own crappy estimate. Way to nail it guys!

Of course, Dell's brass didn't the mind the company's big miss. In fact, every time Dell whiffs they feel that much more vindicated that their $13.65 a share bid to privatize the company is the correct move and maybe even too high a price.


Candidly speaking, the schadenfreude involved here has become quite saddening indeed. It's like these guys are cheering for Charlie Brown to miss the football simply to prove their point.

Well guys, congratulations. You win. Your team sucks.

Still, we were reminded this week that while Dell remains a loser, it is not unloved. Icahn and Dell shareholder Southeastern Asset Management have actually become more and more enamored with each passing week.

Or less and less. To be honest, we're not sure based on their offers.

You see, last week the pair said they want to keep Dell publicly traded and give shareholders $12 in cash for their troubles. Back in March, Icahn announced his plan to pay a special dividend of $9 per share if shareholders reject Michael Dell's buyout. After that idea received a lukewarm welcome, Carl offered to buy 58% of Dell stock for $15 per share.

Yes, it's pretty confusing. And not just to us. Dell's board asked for specifics in a letter Monday. They want more information on financing, management ideas and strategy from Carl and his cohorts.

That's a farce too. Carl and company have no plan to run Dell. They just want a higher price for a company that once changed the face of computer manufacturing.

As for us, we just want to change the channel. This whole stupid saga is bringing us down.

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