3. Dell's Straw Poll
Originally published Aug. 9
What the Dell (DELL - Get Report) is going on down there in Round Rock, Texas? Don't these folks understand that elections this interminable and inane are expressly reserved for the Presidency of the United States and not struggling PC-makers?Fine. Maybe the Mayor of New York City as well. But still, enough is enough! Barely a week after making the latest in his string of "last and final" offers, Michael Dell sweetened his buyout bid last Friday by adding a special 13 cent dividend on top of his of $13.75 a share proposal. By plucking this cherry straight from his own pocket and placing it atop his prior proposal, Michael Dell and his private equity partner Silver Lake convinced the company's special committee to amend the voting rules so that abstentions no longer count as opposing votes. The switch will likely win them the company in their battle against activist investor Carl Icahn, who sued the tech company in a Delaware court to block the changes. "We are pleased today to have won yet another battle, but the war regarding Dell is far from over," said Icahn said about the increased proposal in a statement. "We are not satisfied. We believe that an increase of a mere 13 cents is an insult to shareholders." Icahn added 4 million shares of Dell to his holdings last week, bringing his total to 9% of the company. Sorry Carl, Geddy Lee and all you Rush fans, there will be no Freewill here. If you choose not to decide in this election, you have not made a choice. And Lord knows, we all just wish they would make a decision already. This new Dell deal delays the third -- and hopefully final -- attempt at a shareholder vote until Sept. 12. For those that may have elected to forget, this process publicly started back in early February when Michael announced he was shopping the struggling company. This circus actually started for Michael Dell over a year ago in July 2012 when somebody from Silver Lake persuaded him to take his foundering PC company private by whispering sweet billions into his ear. Something tells us he regrets that conversation more than anybody right now, considering how long and drawn out this affair has become. And Wall Street analysts say Icahn's complaint will prolong the battle even after Iowa Republicans cast their ballots next month. Sorry, we meant Dell shareholders, not Iowa Republicans. Their 2016 Presidential straw poll isn't slated for another two years according to our calendar. Although at this juncture we wouldn't be surprised if the G.O.P. picks its winner before Dell does.
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