Dell Goes Private

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Shareholders of Dell (DELL) voted in favor of the $24.9 billion privatization bid by Michael Dell, founder of Dell, and Silver Lake Management during the special meeting held on Sep 12.

Moreover, the Dell board announced a quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share to be paid on Oct 22. The deal is expected to be closed before the fiscal third quarter of 2014.

As per the privatization arrangement, the shareholders will receive $13.75 per share and a special dividend of 13 cents per share. The private buyout initiative was further smoothened with the billionaire investor, Carl Icahn, exiting the takeover fight.

Icahn had challenged the leveraged buyout of Dell and made a counter offer to buy back 1.1 billion shares at $14.00 per share that would give the shareholders a good return in addition to continued earnings from a publicly-traded Dell.

So, Michael Dell’s privatization proposal to take the company away from public scrutiny and converting it into an enterprise computing services provider has finally come to pass.

Also in the meeting, Michael Dell expressed intentions to expand in the personal computer and tablet markets while emphasizing on expanding the company’s sales initiatives.

Dell has been bearing the brunt of the PC market slowdown and its sales have been cannibalized by hybrid tablets from Apple (AAPL) and Samsung. Dell has a limited presence in the tablet market. These factors led Dell’s dismal results for the past few quarters.

In the last reported quarter, Dell’s earnings of 25 cents nearly halved on a year-over-year basis while its revenues remained flat year over year. Tepid revenues and higher costs also impacted margins.

Despite these negatives, Dell has made its presence felt in the cloud-based services and data center market. The latest report from Gartner suggests that Dell’s server business did rather well in the second quarter of 2013.

Although Dell remained in the third position, behind International Business Machines (IBM) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ), Dell’s revenues from servers increased approximately 11.0% on a year-over-year basis compared to significant declines at both IBM and H-P. Moreover, its market share increased from 15.4% in the second quarter of 2012 to 17.7% in the second quarter of 2013.

These stats are encouraging, but given that Dell has entered the multi-billion-dollar cloud market a bit late, a lot of work remains to be done. Gaining traction in this market will be difficult due to stiff competition from established players such as Salesforce and Oracle.

Currently, Dell has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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