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Sense of the Markets: Icahn and Founder Go Dutch on Dell

Stocks in this article: DELL

After practically being goaded by Dell's special committee — which he, himself, sought to antagonize via aggressive shareholder letters — Icahn did, in fact, put his money where his mouth is.

But it isn't even clear if Icahn could have held his end of the bargain up by traditional means; according to a regulatory filing made Tuesday, Jefferies LLC is providing about 30% of the transaction financing — with another 20% coming from parties including Franklin Square Capital Partners, John Hancock Life Insurance Co. and Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. — but it is Icahn himself who put up the lion's share and pledged debt funding for the remainder from his own investment vehicles.

Securing $14 per share for Dell's other shareholders — Southeastern, still among them — will represent a financial win for Icahn, who will also enjoy being able to excuse himself from the burden of managing a multibillion-dollar PC titan through a secular decline.

And it's notable that once Icahn struck a deal with Southeastern to buy more of the investment manager's Dell stock, Icahn switched gears with the argument that the company's special committee should pony up another 35 cents to seal the buyout.

While the Americans will spend the 4th of July grilling and enjoying pyrotechnic displays, both Icahn and Dell will be charting out their remaining two weeks leading up to the company's shareholder vote on July 18. With Icahn having increased his stake and the founder sidelined from voting, expect the two titans to sit down for another bite and to iron out a common ground.

Michael Dell clearly doesn't want to lose his company, but Icahn probably doesn't want to run it, either.

-- Written by Jonathan Marino in New York

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