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Dell goes private to avoid Wall Street scrutiny

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 5th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell is taking Dell Inc. private for $24.4 billion. The decision is the biggest leveraged buyout since the financial crisis. It's hoped that the deal which let Dell revive the fortunes of his computer company without the scrutiny of Wall Street.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Announced this week, the deal will be financed with cash and equity from Michael Dell, as well as cash from private equity firm Silver Lake and a $2 billion loan from Microsoft Corporation. The recent decision will end a rocky 24-year run on public markets for a company conceived in a college dorm room.

Dell's decline in market share since its peak in the early 2000s has been seen as a sign from investors of the rapidly dwindling prospects of the personal computer industry.

As the world's No. 3 PC maker, Michael Dell began the company in 1984 as a computer-sales outfit while he was still a 19-year-old pre-med student at the University of Texas. Dell is now going through a painful transition from a pure PC maker to a one-stop provider of enterprise computing services. Sales of PCs still make up the majority of Dell's revenue.

The restructuring may entail job cuts at Dell and more costly acquisitions. The company must go on to do battle against more established rivals like Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

"We recognize this process will take more time," Chief Financial Officer Brian Gladden told Reuters. "We will have to make investments, and we will have to be patient to implement the strategy.

"And under a new private company structure, we will have time and flexibility to really pursue and realize the end-to-end solutions strategy."

Dell's strategy would "generally remain the same" after the deal closed, but "we won't have the scrutiny and limitations associated with operating as a public company."

Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake are paying $13.65 per share in cash for the world's No. 3 computer maker. Wall Street acted positively, as shares of Dell were up 0.8 percent at $13.38 in morning trading.

Dell at onetime captivated the popular imagination with its rapid rise in the 1980s and 1990s. It's imaged has been tarnished as it ceded market share in recent years to such rivals such as Lenovo Group.

Michael Dell retook the company for five years following a brief hiatus during which its fortunes waned.

As of 2012's fourth quarter, Dell's share of the global PC market had fell to just above 10 percent from 12.5 percent a year earlier as its shipments dived 20 percent - the fastest quarterly pace of decline in years, according to research house IDC.

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