DELL has agreed to open up its books to activist investor Carl Icahn, after the billionaire raised concerns that investors are being short-changed by the PC manufacturer’s proposed buyout.
The 77 year-old’s investment vehicle, Icahn Enterprises, said yesterday it had signed a confidentiality agreement with Dell’s board that will allow it to review the company’s finances.
Last week, Icahn claimed that a proposed $24bn (£16bn) deal led by founder Michael Dell “is not in the best interest of shareholders and substantially undervalues the company”. He called for Dell to hand investors a special dividend if the takeover is rejected at this summer’s annual meeting.
Despite Dell’s attempts to assure investors that the takeover price is fair – the company has even set up a committee to explore other sale options – many shareholders have voiced discontent with the deal.
The company’s shares are currently trading at a significantly higher price than the $13.65 the buyout deal values the firm at, and they rose again in New York yesterday, topping $14.40 at one point.
Michael Dell, who founded the company while at college in 1984, has claimed that taking it private is the best way to safeguard the company’s future. The business has been on of the worst hit by a global decline in PC sales, as consumers shift to buying tablets and smartphones. Dell wants to reposition the company around selling software, which he believes will be easier if it goes private.