Wall Street Doesn't Have Dell to Kick Around Anymore

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On Thursday, by virtue of a 65-35 shareholder vote, Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners won a green light to take Dell ( DELL) private for $25 billion dollars -- effectively ending the long-term suffering of the company's faithful investors.

Now, I'm not going to go into details as to whether this was a fair deal. On more than one occasion, I've gone on record about Dell's perceived value. But now that this nine-month penny-pinching charade is over, I do wonder if/when the Street will ever again hear from Dell.

One of the advantages of privatization is that now Dell is free to operate without fear of public scrutiny. Aside from freeing the company from things like disclosure requirements, which are enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, I don't see what Dell actually gains by essentially delisting itself.

The company's challenges, which are plenty, will remain. And unlike, say, Lenovo ( LNVGY), which has transitioned well into the mobile market amid the global PC decline, I don't believe that Michael Dell is capable of turning things around.

What's more, although Dell still has a decent hold on high-margin enterprise segments like networking and storage, those businesses are slowly losing ground to better-managed and more nimble rivals like Cisco ( CSCO) and NetApp ( NTAP).

So although the company will soon be out of the limelight, survival is anything but guaranteed, especially given that tablets are expected to surpass personal computer sales next year.

What this means is that Dell, which is already third in terms of global PC sales behind Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Lenovo, is certain to feel the worst of that impact, especially since Dell's also losing its enterprise grip. Always looking to stay one step ahead, Lenovo is now rumored to be interested in buying BlackBerry ( BBRY).

This is exactly the move that I believe Dell should be making, especially in light of Microsoft's ( MSFT) recent deal for Nokia's ( NOK) mobile phone business.

Dell, if it is serious about establishing some relevance, can't afford to allow another mobile option like BlackBerry to slip away.

Don't misinterpret me, though. I'm not suggesting that a deal for BlackBerry will suddenly raise Dell's threat level against Apple ( AAPL) and Samsung ( SSNLF). But I do believe that absent a comprehensive mobile/tablet strategy, one that can secure (at least) fourth place in terms of market share, Dell will never be able to shed its image as a dying PC shop.

The good news is that, with $12 billion in cash on the books and more than $4 billion in operating cash flow, Dell could do this deal today if it wanted to. And since BlackBerry is seeking Canadian government approval to allow a deal with a foreign company, we can't pretend that the stars aren't lining up.

Here too, there's still the issue of expectations. After all, there's not much that can be demanded from two poorly managed companies joining forces. Like two strangers on a deserted island, they need each other to survive, even if they don't like it.

And, given BlackBerry's strong enterprise position and its much-improved BB10 operating system, Dell can get away with offering less than $16 a share. Here too, as with Dell, I believe BlackBerry's total value is highly subjective.

Still, for that price, not only does Dell get a 4.4% share of the mobile devices market in the U.S., but in BB10, it has an operating system that it can license out to the likes of HTC and Huawei and effectively compete with Google, while immediately changing its future.

Not to mention that this deal would also block Lenovo, which is just as much of a threat to Dell as any other company, from picking off BlackBerry. As with every other move that made sense for Dell and that haven't happened, I'm not holding my breath here.

As I've said, Dell now has the advantage of keeping the press out of the conference room, but there will always be the business of operating the business. To that end, I don't see another way for Dell to re-establish its position in the consumer and enterprise markets without a strategic acquisition to rebuild its share or its brand.

Until then, Dell's just burying its head.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Richard Saintvilus is a co-founder of StockSaints.com where he serves as CEO and editor-in-chief. After 20 years in the IT industry, including 5 years as a high school computer teacher, Saintvilus decided his second act would be as a stock analyst - bringing logic from an investor's point of view. His goal is to remove the complicated aspect of investing and present it to readers in a way that makes sense.

His background in engineering has provided him with strong analytical skills. That, along with 15 years of trading and investing, has given him the tools needed to assess equities and appraise value. Richard is a Warren Buffett disciple who bases investment decisions on the quality of a company's management, growth aspects, return on equity, and price-to-earnings ratio.

His work has been featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, Forbes, Motley Fool and numerous other outlets.