Apple Agitated, Dell Deal Done: Tech Weekly

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As always seems to be the case, Apple ( AAPL) had an enormously busy week, both in the stores and in its stock.

Apple rolled out its 128 GB iPad earlier this week, pushing the model toward enterprise users, artists and educators. "With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in the press release.

With the success of the iPad, PC sales have slowed, and people are turning increasingly to tablets for their needs. Research firm Canalys has taken note of that trend, and is now incorporating tablets into PC sales, thus making Apple the world's largest seller of PCs. Canalys says that one-in-six PCs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012 was an iPad, with Apple selling 22.9 million iPads (many of these were iPad minis, according to Canalys) during the period. Apple also sold 4.1 million Macs.

It's not all roses for Apple, though, as the stock has come under pressure in recent months, leading one activist shareholder to call the company out.

Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn has sued Apple, asking fellow shareholders to block Apple's proposal to get rid of preferred stock, which he says restricts "the Board's ability to unlock the value on Apple's balance sheet."

Einhorn's a Hustler and He Doesn't Understand Or Care About Apple

"We believe Apple must examine all of its options to unlock the growing value of its balance sheet for all shareholders," said Einhorn, in a press release. "Over the past several months, we have had an ongoing dialogue with Apple regarding one option to do so, namely the creation of a new security, a perpetual preferred stock that would be distributed at no cost to Apple's existing shareholders, and would provide an attractive, sustainable dividend while preserving Apple's financial resources to pursue its business strategy."

Apple issued a statement responding to Einhorn's letter, saying it will "thoroughly evaluate Greenlight Capital's current proposal to issue some form of preferred stock. We welcome Greenlight's views and the views of all of our shareholders."

Shares of Apple closed out the week 4.71% higher, to finish at $474.98.

Dell ( DELL), whose CEO Michael Dell once famously said that Apple should shut down its business and return the cash to shareholders, has done almost that. After a period of intense rumor and speculation, the No.3 PC maker has decided to go private.

A team led by Dell himself, along with Silver Lake Partners, is acquiring the company in a $24.4 billion deal. Under the terms of the transaction, shareholders will be paid $13.65 per share in cash, a premium of 25% to the company's closing price on Jan. 11, when rumors of the deal emerged.

The deal is being financed through a combination of cash and equity from Michael Dell, cash from investment funds affiliated with Silver Lake, cash invested by Michael Dell's investment firm, MSD Capital, and a $2 billion loan from Microsoft ( MSFT). Dell will also roll over existing debt, and receive new debt financing from a consortium of banks.

Dell Dude, You're Getting a Joke of a Premium

A number of Dell shareholders are unhappy with the low offer price, including Dell's largest independent shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management. The fund says that Dell's worth $24 a share, a price far higher than the one currently being offered. Dell has a 45 day "go-shop period," in which it will solicit outside bids, but none are expected to materialize.

TheStreet ran a poll, with 87% of respondents described the premium as a "joke."

Shares of Dell closed the week flat at $13.63.

Earnings were also at the forefront this week, with names such as LinkedIn ( LNKD), Yelp ( YELP) and Zynga ( ZNGA) reporting results.

LinkedIn saw fourth-quarter revenue jump 81% year-over-year, coming in at $303.6 million. That allowed LinkedIn to earn 35 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for 19 cents a share on $279.52 million in sales. Revenue growth was aided by Talent Solutions revenue, which totaled $161 million, up 90% year-over-year. Talent Solutions revenue made up 53% of this quarter's sales.

Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn also surpassed the 200 million member milestone, ending the year with approximately 202 million members, up 39% year-over-year.

LinkedIn provided first-quarter guidance that blew past Wall Street estimates. It expects revenue between $305 million and $310 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting $301.3 million in revenue. For the full year, LinkedIn expects sales between $1.41 billion and $1.44 billion. Wall Street analysts expect $1.439 billion.

Shares of LinkedIn soared this week, tacking on 21.53% to finish at $150.48.

Yelp reported fourth-quarter numbers this week, with the local business review site growing revenue 65% year over year. The San Francisco-based firm lost 8 cents a share on $41.2 million in revenue during the fourth quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting the review aggregator to lose 5 cents a share on $40.29 million.

Yelp provided first-quarter and full-year 2013 revenue guidance. For the first quarter, Yelp expects net revenue between $44 million and $44.5 million, growth of 62% compared to the first quarter of 2012. For the full year, Yelp believes sales will range between $210 million and $212 million, a 53% year-over-year rise.

Shares of Yelp closed the week higher, ending up 6.74% to finish at $21.85.

Zynga, famous for its -Ville games, beat analysts' expectations, earning a profit this quarter.

Excluding items, the San Francisco-based social gaming company earned 1 cent a share on $311.1 million in revenue for the fourth quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for a loss of 3 cents a share on $212.1 million in sales.

For the full year, Zynga reported $1.28 billion in sales, up 12% year over year, as daily active users (DAUs) increased from 54 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 56 million at the end of 2012. DAUs decreased 6% sequentially from the third quarter to the fourth quarter.

For the first quarter of 2013, Zynga said it expects revenue to be between $255 million and $265 million, losing between 4 cents and 2 cents a share.

Shares of Zynga closed out the week higher, gaining 28.95% to finish at $3.43.

Sprint ( S) also reported quarterly numbers this week, receiving an iPhone boost.

The telecom company lost 44 cents a share on $9 billion in revenue, up from $8.7 billion in the prior year's quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for a loss of 46 cents a share on $8.92 billion in revenue.

Sprint said it sold 2.2 million iPhones during the quarter, of which 38% went to new customers. For the year, 6.6 million iPhones were sold, out of 20 million smartphones in total.

Shares of Sprint rose this week, gaining 1.41% to finish at $5.77.

There was some M&A in tech this week, with Oracle ( ORCL) buying Acme Packet ( APKT) for $2.1 billion. Oracle paid $29.25 a share, or approximately $1.7 billion, net of Acme Packet's cash.

Acme Packet describes itself as a leader in session delivery network solutions, which let enterprises deliver secure voice and data services across IP networks.

Shares of Acme Packet soared this week, gaining 23.61% to finish at $29.58, while Oracle dipped 3.6% to close at $34.90.

Next week we see earnings results from Cisco ( CSCO), Net App ( NTAP), Rackspace ( RAX) and Clearwire ( CLWR). Goldman Sachs will also hold its annual technology conference in San Francisco, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Zillow ( Z) CEO Spencer Rascoff (who discussed Zillow Digs earlier this week with me) set to attend.

If you're in the Northeast, stay warm and safe as Nemo finds us (sorry, my joke writer is out sick this week). I'll catch you all on the other side for another exciting week in technology.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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