Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Jim Kaskade, Carmen Gonzalez, Trevor Parsons, Roger Strukhoff, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization

Cloud Expo: Article

Icahn Lashes Out at Dell Board & Dell Himself

"Dell has a major liability that can be easily removed.... It is the CEO, Michael Dell"

After joining with Southeastern Asset Management in signing an open letter to Dell’s special board committee – which is wrestling with Michael Dell’s offer to pay $13.75 a share, 10 cents more a share, to change how the stockholders vote on his leverage buy-out offer is counted – telling the special committee he expected them to tell Michael Dell “no” – activist investor Carl Icahn wrote another open letter to Dell shareholders characterizing Michael Dell as a “whining” “sore loser” and major corporate “liability” and castigating the Dell board for “making a mockery of what little is left of corporate democracy at Dell.”

He tells them that “If my past record is any indication, I believe you will be happier and richer if you join me in voting against the Michael Dell/Silver Lake deal....It is time for Michael Dell and the Dell Board to go.”

Dell stock, which closed Monday, at $12.87, off seven cents from Friday, was suggestively rising after-hours to around $12.94 as the letter circulated.

The letter in its entirety reads:

"Dear Fellow Dell Stockholders:

In their Merger Agreement, Michael Dell/Silver Lake agreed with the Dell Board that they would purchase Dell if, and only if, a majority of the outstanding shares held by unaffiliated stockholders voted in favor of the transaction. In that Merger Agreement, the Dell Board agreed with Michael Dell/Silver Lake that none of the current stockholders would be allowed to own shares in the newly formed company – they would be frozen out. Further, the Dell Board agreed, wrongly in my opinion, to let Michael Dell/Silver Lake purchase the stock at what I view is a very undervalued price.

Even though the Dell Board and Michael Dell/Silver Lake agreed that a majority of the outstanding stock held by unaffiliated stockholders would be required to approve the transaction, and even made that provision of the Merger Agreement non-waivable, this required vote has not been achieved. Reports have indicated, and it is clearly the case, that Michael Dell/Silver Lake did not have sufficient stockholder support at either the July 18 or July 24 meetings.

Instead of accepting defeat with dignity, Michael Dell, in his interview with The Wall Street Journal, complained that the Merger Agreement he negotiated is unfair. This is the very Merger Agreement that Michael Dell/Silver Lake agreed to, and ironically, Michael Dell, not the stockholders, initiated this proposed transaction. Is it Michael Dell's alter ego who keeps whining about the unfairness of an agreement that he himself asked the Dell Board to accept?

I might be able to understand the actions of Michael Dell, who does not wish to lose a golden opportunity, but I cannot understand the actions of the Dell Board. The Dell Board approved a merger at what I believe to be a very undervalued price but they at least made it clear that an affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding unaffiliated shares would be required to accept the Michael Dell/Silver Lake proposal, first at a meeting on July 18, and then again, on July 24. But reports indicate that Michael Dell/Silver Lake did not have the necessary stockholder support to approve their proposed transaction at either of the scheduled meetings. The stockholders have spoken. Additionally, millions of shares of Dell stock have been traded since the Dell Board signed the Merger Agreement which included the non-waivable stockholder approval requirement – a provision that Michael Dell now wishes to change. What about the stockholders that purchased and sold shares of Dell stock based on this provision? Why does the Dell Board continue this travesty? Why do they make a mockery of what little is left of corporate democracy at Dell?

In The Wall Street Journal interview, Michael Dell criticizes the fact that Icahn was not a stockholder when the process started. In effect, he seems to be saying that Icahn has no right to meddle with Michael Dell’s “super Dell” deal. I am also confused by Michael Dell’s statement that “after one of the most thorough processes in history the highest price that any of the parties was willing to pay was $13.65.” But what about our proposed Dell self-tender offer, which we believe has a total value to tendering stockholders of approximately $15.50 to $18 per share?* I guess Michael Dell believes a bid doesn’t count if it is made by someone who didn’t own the shares when the process began. Michael Dell should remember that it was he, not us, who put a value on the company, thereby placing it in auction, and Michael Dell and the Dell Board would do well to understand that in an auction, even a Dell auction, anyone has the right to bid.

Michael Dell spent many months crafting a merger agreement that would not only “freeze out” all unaffiliated stockholders but would also make it nearly insurmountable for anyone to make a competing bid. Michael Dell is correct when he says the Merger Agreement that he and the Dell Board agreed to is unfair. I believe it is unfair to the stockholders because of its effect on anyone who wishes to make a competing bid. Because of the inclusion of matching rights in favor of Michael Dell/Silver Lake, a competing bidder carries significant risk that their bid would just be topped by Michael Dell/Silver Lake, in which case they would have paid sizeable fees for financing commitments yet be without a deal, a situation we believe is unfair. If a competing bidder is effectively used as a stalking horse against the Michael Dell/Silver Lake transaction, it is reasonable to expect that the Merger Agreement should permit the company to enter into an arrangement with the competing bidder to receive a break-up fee to cover its financing expenses. I guess Michael Dell and his army of advisors did not count on anyone being willing to put up $3 billion of their own money in order to put forth an alternative proposal to Dell’s offer – but miracles do happen.

Conclusion Concerning The Wall Street Journal Interview Where Michael Dell Shows His True Colors

Throughout the interview Michael Dell makes statements such as “my focus throughout has been to our company’s customers and partners.” He states again “my focus first and foremost has been on the company and our employees, customers and partners.” Except in the context of having his deal pushed across the finish line, Michael Dell barely mentions the company’s stockholders. I guess he loses focus when the stockholders come into view. Michael Dell states that “we could do what we needed to do better and faster as a private company.” He has, therefore, for the good of the company, determined he must deny all stockholders the right to participate in the possible good fortunes of Dell in the future. The interview neglected to ask, or possibly Michael Dell refused to answer: “Did you ever once offer, or did the ‘independent committee’ ever ask you to offer, your stockholders a contingent value right or warrant so that they might also be able to participate in the good fortune that might result from you taking Dell private?”

Why I Am Involved

Our system of corporate governance in this country is dysfunctional. In my opinion, boards are empowered to do ridiculous and even inconceivable things to take advantage of stockholders. I have railed against this fact for years. But no one would believe, and with good reason, that I would risk $3 billion because I am outraged at the treatment of stockholders at Dell. While I am enraged, the major reason I am involved is that I believe the Michael Dell/Silver Lake transaction undervalues the company. I have spent many hours discussing Dell with experts, and there are many reasons to believe Michael Dell/Silver Lake’s proposal materially undervalues the company.

Perhaps the most important reason is Dell has a major liability that can be easily removed and that I believe would make the company a great deal of value. It is the CEO, Michael Dell. If Dell can replace Michael Dell, I think that the company would be worth far, far more. I do not say this facetiously. I fully expect to be able to identify a first-class person to run Dell if our slate of directors are elected at the annual meeting. Icahn has a history of bringing in strong new CEO’s that have gotten good results (for example, consider our activities in Biogen and Motorola, to name a few) and Icahn and Southeastern are beginning to see success in replacing top management at Chesapeake Energy. Bringing in a new CEO, unhampered by Michael Dell and the old regime, is in my opinion, both effective and necessary when attempting to turn a company around. It has often been my experience that removal of an underperforming CEO will allow a company to become more productive, more competitive and more profitable and has helped create billions in stockholder value for the companies that I have been involved with. If my past record is any indication, I believe you will be happier and richer if you join me in voting against the Michael Dell/Silver Lake deal. Finally, I can't help but note that Michael Dell has fared much better selling over 62 million shares in the $32 to $40 range over different periods in the past 10 years. Unfortunately for stockholders, he seems to be a much better market-timer than a CEO. It is time for Michael Dell and the Dell Board to go.

Sincerely,

Carl C. Icahn

Icahn Enterprises LP

* Estimates are based upon the assumptions and calculations set forth in Definitive Additional Materials that we filed with the SEC on July 12, 2013 and July 16, 2013 and reflect only an illustration of the implied value of Dell based upon those assumptions and calculations. The foregoing and the information contained in the Definitive Additional Materials are not a prediction of the specific future market value of Dell stock or any warrant.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArcho...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how thes...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) ir...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn rea...
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice s...
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace. These technological reforms have not only changed computers and smartphones, but are also changi...