Carl Icahn says billionaire battle over Dell is impossible to win

Oliver Smith
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ACTIVIST investor Carl Icahn has pulled out of the battle for computer manufacturer Dell, calling the fight against founder Michael Dell “impossible to win”.

In an open letter posted to his 77,000 Twitter followers and on the US securities regulator’s website, Icahn said he still believed the offer from $24.4bn offer from Dell and Silver Lake undervalued the firm, and “freezes stockholders out of any possibility of realising Dell’s great potential”.

Michael Dell and global technology investment firm Silver Lake announced plans to take Dell private in February, financed by cash and equity from Michael Dell, cash from Silver Lake, cash from Michael Dell’s investment firm MSD Capital, a $2bn loan from Microsoft and debt financing from four banks.

Since the offer Icahn has repeatedly argued the bid undervalues Dell, attempting to nominate new directors to the board and take the firm to court over the voting date for approval.

His letter of defeat was typically prosaic.

“The Dell board, like so many boards in this country, reminds me of Clark Gable’s last words in Gone with the Wind. They simply ‘don't give a damn’,” he wrote.

He also joked about the twice-delayed vote on Michael Dell’s offer – “What’s the difference between Dell and a dictatorship? The answer: Most functioning dictatorships only need to postpone the vote once to win.”

Shareholders will vote on Michael Dell’s offer for the company on Thursday, after Dell’s quarterly results are released.