The monthslong saga that has been Michael Dell's quest to buy back the tech company he founded isn't over yet but it has taken a significant step forward today. A special committee of Dell Inc.’s board of directors has reached a revised agreement that has Dell and Silver Lake Partners buying the computer maker for about $24.6 billion, or $13.75 per share.
The committee was expected to vote on the agreement today but pushed the official vote to September 12.
The special committee originally rejected Dell’s increased offer because it was contingent upon a change in the voting rules that would have made it easier for Dell’s proposal to win approval. Under the established rules, unvoted shares were counted as "no" votes. Dell's proposal would not have them counted at all.
That changed today. Even with a fresh lawsuit from outspoken Dell investor and business mogul Carl Icahn, filed to stop the board from changing the voting date or the voting rules, the special committee changed the voting rules and put its stamp of approval on Dell’s deal.
"The Committee does not believe it is appropriate to count shares that have not been voted as having been voted in support of any particular alternative," committee chairman Alex Mandl said in an announcement of the initial agreement. "We have changed the voting standard to require that the going-private transaction receive the approval of a majority of the disinterested shares that are actually voted."
The move essentially allows those who recently became Dell stockholders, especially those in favor of the going-private deal, to vote their stake in the company. A recent tally showed 579 million votes had been cast in favor of the deal with 563 million against.