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Dell seeks to calm concerns

13 Feb 2013 THE AGE



DELL is trying to reassure shareholders about its proposed $US24.4 billion acquisition by a group led by its founder, saying it considered several strategic options before agreeing to the deal.

Dell laid out the advantages of the transaction in a regulatory filing on Monday, three days after a big shareholder ridiculed the buyout as a rotten deal that undervalues the business.

On Friday, Southeastern Asset Management Inc sent a letter to Dell's board of directors. Southeastern CEO Mason Hawkins threatened to lead a shareholder mutiny unless Dell came up with an alternative acquisition offer.

Hawkins vowed to wield Southeastern's 8.5 per cent stake to thwart the deal that's on the table. Only Michael Dell, the computer company's founder and CEO, owns more stock with a roughly 14 per cent stake.

Texas-based Dell said in its filing that it determined with independent advisers that the cash bid by a group led by Michael Dell was in the best interests of stockholders.

Dell also said the deal allows time for alternative bids so that shareholders will be able to see if there are superior options available.

Southeastern and other stockholders will be paid $US13.65 a share to leave the company in the control of Michael Dell.

Michael Dell is contributing about $US4.5 billion in stock and cash to help pay for the deal. The rest of the money would be supplied by the investment firm Silver Lake, loans from Microsoft Corp and a litany of banks.