Dell has officially announced that it’s going private after weeks of reports and negotiations.
The final price is $13.65 a share. The deal is valued at $24.4 billion.
Company founder Michael Dell is taking the company private in partnership with private equity firm Silver Lake.
According to the release, the buyout will be funded by a big consortium. Dell and Silver Lake are going to finance it along with Microsoft which is kicking in $2 billion as a loan, according to the release. Other financing will come from BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets.
Microsoft’s involvement in the process is particularly noteworthy. The reason Dell is going private is that its business of selling Windows-based PCs has not been going well. If, as a private company, Dell wanted to initiate a radical change and break away from its reliance on Microsoft, that would appear less likely with Microsoft’s involvement.
And from Microsoft’s perspective, it is likely to upset its partners. Remember, the entire PC industry is in decline. This isn’t a Dell-only problem. If HP is on the cusp of going to out of business, will Microsoft rush in with billions of dollars to bail it out?
At $13.65 a share, Dell says in the release it’s buying the company for a 25% premium over the stock’s closing price before news leaked of a potential buyout.
We expect there will be multiple shareholder lawsuits over this deal. Just a year ago, the stock was trading at ~$17.66 a share. Today, Dell and Silver Lake want to buy the whole thing for considerably less. Dell has a 45-day “go-shop” period where the board can look for a better deal.
Why is Dell going private? In general, the real reason a company goes private is that its backers think the market is undervaluing it. It also believes that it can fix things up, then re-enter the public markets at a higher valuation delivering a big return, in this case, for Michael Dell and Silver Lake.
In the release Dell explained the move, saying, “We can deliver immediate value to stockholders, while we continue the execution of our long-term strategy and focus on delivering best-in-class solutions to our customers as a private enterprise. Dell has made solid progress executing this strategy over the past four years, but we recognise that it will still take more time, investment and patience, and I believe our efforts will be better supported by partnering with Silver Lake in our shared vision.”
Here’s the release, we’re updating this post as we go, so more to come.
Dell Inc. today announced it has signed a definitive merger agreement under which Michael Dell, Dell’s Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in partnership with global technology investment firm Silver Lake, will acquire Dell.
Under the terms of the agreement, Dell stockholders will receive $13.65 in cash for each share of Dell common stock they hold, in a transaction valued at approximately $24.4 billion. The price represents a premium of 25 per cent over Dell’s closing share price of $10.88 on Jan. 11, 2013, the last trading day before rumours of a possible going-private transaction were first published; a premium of approximately 35 per cent over Dell’s enterprise value as of Jan. 11, 2013; and a premium of approximately 37 per cent over the average closing share price during the previous 90 calendar days ending Jan. 11, 2013. The buyers will acquire for cash all of the outstanding shares of Dell not held by Mr. Dell and certain other members of management.
The Dell Board of Directors acting on the recommendation of a special committee of independent directors unanimously approved a merger agreement under which Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners will acquire Dell and take the company private subject to a number of conditions, including a vote of the unaffiliated stockholders. Mr. Dell recused himself from all Board discussions and from the Board vote regarding the transaction.
A Special Committee was formed after Mr. Dell first approached Dell’s Board of Directors in August 2012 with an interest in taking the company private. Led by Lead Director Alex Mandl, the Special Committee retained independent financial and legal advisors J.P. Morgan and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to advise the Special Committee with respect to its consideration of strategic alternatives, the acquisition proposal and the subsequent negotiation of the merger agreement.
The Special Committee also engaged a leading management consulting firm to conduct an independent analysis, including a review of strategic alternatives for Dell and opportunities for the company as a public entity, and thereafter engaged Evercore Partners.
The merger agreement provides for a so-called “go-shop” period, during which the Special Committee – with the assistance of Evercore Partners – will actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals. The initial go-shop period is 45 days. Following that period, the Special Committee will be permitted to continue discussions and enter into or recommend a transaction with any person or group that submitted a qualifying proposal during the 45-day period. A successful competing bidder who makes a qualifying proposal during the initial go-shop period would bear a $180 million (less than 1 per cent) termination fee. For a competing bidder who did not qualify during the initial go-shop period, the termination fee would be $450 million.
Mr. Mandl, lead director of Dell’s Board of Directors, said: “The Special Committee and its advisors conducted a disciplined and independent process intended to ensure the best outcome for shareholders. Importantly, the go-shop process provides a real opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present offer from Mr. Dell and Silver Lake.”
Mr. Dell said: “I believe this transaction will open an exciting new chapter for Dell, our customers and team members. We can deliver immediate value to stockholders, while we continue the execution of our long-term strategy and focus on delivering best-in-class solutions to our customers as a private enterprise. Dell has made solid progress executing this strategy over the past four years, but we recognise that it will still take more time, investment and patience, and I believe our efforts will be better supported by partnering with Silver Lake in our shared vision. I am committed to this journey and I have put a substantial amount of my own capital at risk together with Silver Lake, a world-class investor with an outstanding reputation. We are committed to delivering an unmatched customer experience and excited to pursue the path ahead.”
“Michael Dell is a true visionary and one of the preeminent leaders of the global technology industry,” said Egon Durban, a Silver Lake Managing Partner. “Silver Lake is looking forward to partnering with him, the talented management team at Dell and the investor group to innovate, invest in long-term growth initiatives and accelerate the company’s transformation strategy to become an integrated and diversified global IT solutions provider.”
Following completion of the transaction, Mr. Dell, who owns approximately 14 per cent of Dell’s common shares, will continue to lead the company as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and will maintain a significant equity investment in Dell by contributing his shares of Dell to the new company, as well as making a substantial additional cash investment. Dell will continue to be headquartered in Round Rock, Texas.
The transaction will be financed through a combination of cash and equity contributed by Mr. Dell, cash funded by investment funds affiliated with Silver Lake, cash invested by MSD Capital, L.P., a $2 billion loan from Microsoft, rollover of existing debt, as well as debt financing that has been committed by BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets (in alphabetical order), and cash on hand. There is no financing condition.
The transaction is subject to other customary conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals, in addition to the Dell stockholder approvals described above. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the second quarter of Dell’s FY2014.
For further information regarding all terms and conditions contained in the definitive merger agreement, please see Dell’s Current Report on Form 8-K, which will be filed in connection with this transaction.
J.P. Morgan and Evercore Partners are acting as financial advisors and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is acting as legal advisor to the Special Committee of Dell’s Board of Directors. Goldman, Sachs & Co. is acting as financial advisor and Hogan Lovells US LLP is acting as legal advisor to Dell. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is acting as legal advisor to Mr. Dell. BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets (in alphabetical order) are acting as financial advisors to Silver Lake, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is acting as legal advisor to Silver Lake.
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