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'Disturbed' Dell investors could tank private buyout

But Michael and the VCs unlikely to raise offer - report

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According to reports, Dell's largest independent shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, is not keen on the $24.4bn buyout bid, and it's not the only one.

Sources whispered to Reuters that Southeastern and other investors think the deal undervalues their shares at $13.65 each and were hoping for more like $20 a share.

Southeastern is reported to have said it is "disturbed" by the offer from a consortium of private equity funds and some cash from founder and CEO Michael Dell, but it has declined to comment publicly.

The company, which holds the largest outside slice of Dell at 7.5 per cent, has been known to agitate at tech firms before, having given up on Sun and pushed it into acquisition by Oracle to get some "true economic value" out of its stake. Michael Dell currently owns around 14 per cent of Dell's common shares.

According to the sources, the consortium has no intention of raising its offer, it's hoping that shareholders will cave when they realise there are no other options for Dell. That epiphany should come in a company regulatory filing expected in March detailing the actions Dell took before getting to this bid.

However, Southeastern isn't the only unhappy investor. Alpine Capital Research has said that it will vote its two million shares against the deal and Schneider Capital Management is putting its 350,000 shares on the same side.

The dissenting shareholders will need a majority vote, excluding Michael Dell's stake, to torpedo the deal. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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