Dell shareholder rejects bid by founder Michael Dell
- 8 February 2013
- From the section Business
The largest independent shareholder in PC-maker Dell has vowed to oppose a plan by its founder, Michael Dell, to buy back the company.
Southeastern Asset Management, which owns an 8.5% stake, dismissed Mr Dell's offer to buy the business for $24.4bn (£15.5bn) as "woefully inadequate".
In a letter to Dell's board, it said the firm was worth almost double that.
In response, the consortium led by Mr Dell said its buy-out offer was "in the best interests of stockholders".
Mr Dell, who founded the company at university in 1984 and serves as its chief executive, currently owns about 14% of the firm.
He is planning to buy the remaining shares in order to take the firm private, ending 25 years as a listed company on the Nasdaq.
Analysts suggest the move will help revamp Dell away from the glare of Wall Street.
It is currently struggling to compete against cheaper Asian rivals and a boom in smartphones and tablet computers,
But Southeastern Asset Management said Mr Dell's bid "grossly undervalues the company", arguing that it was worth closer to $43bn.
"We will not vote in favour of the proposed transaction as currently structured. We retain and intend to avail ourselves of all options at our disposal to oppose the proposed transaction," the letter to the board read.
Under the terms of the deal, a majority of shareholders apart from Mr Dell's must vote in favour of the buy-out.
It is not clear whether other shareholders share Southeastern's misgivings.
At the time of Mr Dell's offer, the company's board pointed out that it represented a 25% premium over Dell's share price in mid-January when rumours of the deal first broke.
However, the share price still remains some way below the $17-$18 level it was trading at a year ago, and well below its all-time high of just under $60 in 2000.