08/03/2013 23:04:00

Dell Assures Employees Uncertainty about Buyout Deal Is 'Part of the Process'

By Nathalie Tadena

Dell Inc. (DELL) moved to reassure employees about the computer maker's planned $24.4 billion leveraged buyout by founder Michael Dell, telling them in an internal note that uncertainty and speculation related to the deal "is all part of the process being led by our board of directors."

"As expected, this proposed transaction has generated significant interest and commentary from media, investors and other stakeholders," Dell wrote in note sent to employees Friday. "There will continue to be speculation, conjecture and uncertainty as the process moves forward."

In its letter, which was disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Dell asked employees to keep developments in proper perspective and went on to outline details about the plan.

Dell noted the special committee is currently managing a 45-day so-called "go-shop" period, during which it will actively solicit and evaluate alternative proposals. The "go-shop" period ends on March 22 and the committee will be able to continue discussions with parties that submitted a qualifying proposal during that period.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the second quarter, subject to shareholder approval. The transaction must be approved by the holders of a majority of Dell's shares, excluding shares held by Mr. Dell and certain members of the company's management and board.

Dell also noted its fiscal 2014 business plan remains unchanged and said it remains "committed to completing this transaction as seamlessly as possible."

Over the past few weeks, several Dell shareholders have opposed Mr. Dell's offer. Southeastern Asset Management Inc., Dell's largest outside shareholder, criticized the buyout at the current price and hired a firm to convince other shareholders to oppose the deal.

On Thursday, activist investor Carl Icahn said he would replace Dell's board and pursue "years of litigation" if the company refused to accept his demand for a refinancing that would pay a hefty dividend to shareholders. Prodding the company to reject the buyout offer that it agreed to last month and endorse his alternative, Mr. Icahn also disclosed he owns a "substantial" stake in Dell.

Dell shares were up by four cents to $14.20 after hours. The stock has jumped 40% since the start of the year.

-Write to Nathalie Tadena at nathalie.tadena@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 08, 2013 18:04 ET (23:04 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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