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Dell Finalizes Icahn's Stake

Zacks Equity Research

The board of Dell Inc. (DELL) has fixed the ownership stake of Carl Icahn and his associate entities to not more than 10.0% of the company's shares.

This deal also covers shareholders other than Ichan, who would jointly hold more than 15.0% of Dell’s outstanding shares.

Some of Dell’s shareholders have expressed their dissatisfaction with Michael Dell’s offer, after which Ichan and investment firm Blackstone (BX) have raised the bid.

Icahn already has a leading position among minority shareholders and could therefore make it difficult for Michael Dell to acquire the controlling stake.

Moreover, this has been a major hurdle for Dell's board, who were more inclined toward Michael Dell and an investment group led by Silver Lake Partners to take the controlling stake.

Icahn has announced that he has rejected Dell's offer of $25.0 million as expense reimbursements if he agreed not to attempt a hostile takeover.

The latest decision regarding the stake came quickly, as Icahn Enterprises received an approval to terminate the normal waiting period -- i.e. within a period of 6 days -- which is generally needed before somebody can acquire a 25% ownership stake.

Considering the latest developments, Dell’s future remains uncertain. In the past year, the company has had its share of challenges, as cutthroat competition from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Apple Inc. (AAPL), as well as a restricted spending environment hurt revenues.

Moreover, privatization might help Dell move away from public scrutiny, but the decision regarding ownership is taking some time to settle.

Dell Inc. has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). Therefore, we would instead recommend Symantec Corp. (SYMC), which has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Synopsys Inc. (SNPS), which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) also looks attractive.

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