On the Call: Dell CFO Brian Gladden

On the Call: Dell CEO discusses customer reaction to uncertainty posed by CEO's buyout offer

Associated Press

ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) -- Struggling personal computer maker Dell Inc. has been facing an uncertain fate since early February when it announced plans to sell itself for $24.4 billion to CEO Michael Dell and a group of investors led by Silver Lake Partners. Rival Hewlett-Packard Co. made it clear that it intended to seize on the proposed sale as an opportunity to poach customers.

Three months later, Dell is still hanging in limbo as the Round Rock, Texas, company seeks to fend off shareholder opposition to the buyout. Even if Dell can win shareholder approval, the deal with Michael Dell and his allies is not expected to be completed until late summer or early fall.

That caused one analyst to ask Dell Chief Financial Officer Brian Gladden about the customer fallout during a Thursday conference call discussing the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings report.

QUESTION: Can you talk about your customer engagements and how those discussions are going in light of everything that's happening? How much of your time is being spent explaining what's happening and are customers showing any indication of potentially holding out or lengthening sales cycles just to wait and see what happens?

ANSWER: I think, in general, the customer base has been very supportive of the company. And long-term relationships, the quality of our solutions, the new solutions we're adding to the portfolio have really carried those relationships. And not to say there aren't some areas where we've seen questions and we've had to spend time with customers.

We've looked at it as a chance to spend more time with our customers and to make sure they're comfortable with the strategy of the company and where we're taking it. And I would say for those conversations that I've been part of, those have been very good conversations that in many cases have resulted in more opportunities for the company.

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