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Dell war of words with Icahn heats up as vote nears

13 Jul 2013

A Dell logoDell shareholders are nearing the vote on the company's proposed buyout plan, and opponent Carl Icahn is upping his offer hoping to halt a deal at the last minute.

The investor activist said he would up his bid to acquire outstanding shares in the company with the addition of warrants, which could increase the per-share price stakeholders would collect in the sale and offer them the chance to re-purchase their shares at a later date.

The bid comes in the wake of announcements from Dell that three outside appraisal firms brought in to review the offers have accepted the company's original plan. That offer, backed by founder Michael Dell and an investment group, would purchase all outstanding Dell shares and effectively take the company private.

Icahn has long opposed the bid, claiming that the company's $13.65 per-share offer undervalues the company and rips off shareholders. He has since formed his own group, but the viability of the offer has been called into question by the company's special committee.

Now, as the vote nears, the company is trying to quell talk of an Icahn buyout once and for all. Additionally, it has spoken out against a call from Icahn to have Dell stock appraised.

“The Special Committee cautions Dell stockholders that Carl Icahn’s latest entreaties that they pursue appraisal with respect to the Dell acquisition misrepresent the risks and costs involved in this course of action,” the company said in a statement.

“Mr Icahn’s letters claim that seeking appraisal is a 'no-brainer' involving 'no risk' and that stockholders 'might get lucky' if they follow his advice.”

Michael Dell faces uphill battle in bid to go private

10 Apr 2013

Dell headquarters at Round Rock Texas

The road to privatisation was never going to be an easy one. Michael Dell was going to face a slew of investors wanting top dollar for an under ,,performing company, even if he didn't have other bidders.

Dell intended to pay $24bn for the company he's run since day one. That price just got raised by two other investors with deeper pockets. Blackstone and Carl Ichan have the potential to offer better packages for investors by way of a public equity stub, a way to keep them invested while being a private company.

Following the offers, Michael Dell and his investment group will most likely have to up their bid for Dell. They'll also need to offer a stub, which is something they don't want to do.

Nothing quite worked out like it was suppose to. Dell investors were suppose to take their measly $24bn, so Michael Dell could ride off into the sunset and get his company right. That hasn't yet happened.

Instead, the infighting and business politics have won out. Investors want to get paid and don't care about Dell's future strategies. Yet, despite not caring some investors still want a piece of Dell's future.

One theory is that Dell won't be private forever. Once Dell gets its business in order it's possible that the firm will reopen to Wall Street. Current investors know this and they don't want to be left out in the cold when it happens.

They want to hitch their dollars to the private Dell and let things shake out as they may. They could do it with Michael Dell, Carl Ichan, or Blackstone. It doesn't really matter to investors who has the company, just that they have a piece of the action.

It's the type of motivation that Michael Dell was hoping to avoid by going private. Dell had hoped to get his company doing things that were good for the company. He wanted a brief reprieve from quarterly progress reports so he could allow his company to play the long game.

Unfortunately, for Dell that seems unlikely. With the stub that's expected to be included in any deal for the company, a truly private Dell seems out of reach.

Dell was aiming to go private and turn itself into an enterprise solutions powerhouse. The company knows their options in the PC market are inconsequential and it wanted to get prepped for the future by removing quarter-obsessed investors.

Now, instead of a private Dell, the company will have to answer to some sort of investor. Whether a private or public one.

Open Compute Summit IV in pictures

17 Jan 2013

This year's Open Compute Summit IV saw the event's largest turnout yet. The conference is a gathering of technology companies and open source enthusiasts looking to see the latest in datacentre hardware. Originally set up by a group of Facebook engineers, the event has continued to grow over the past two years.

Here is some of the highlights from this years show:

This year's show came with the announcement of new partners for the Open Compute Platform (OCP). Firm's like ARM, Sandisk, and EMC announced their introduction to the group during the show. They joined companies like Intel and Wiwynn as members of OCP.

ocp-banner-mainstageThe main ballroom for this years show hosted such technology big wigs as Intel's chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, founder of O'Reilly Media founder, Tim O'Reilly, and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Andy Bechtolsheim.

ocp-summit-main-stage

On the vendor floor, tech firms like Wiwynn showed off their latest cloud storage system the SV 7110. The technology is powered by Intel's Atom processor.

ocp-banner-showfloor2

Wiwynn and Intel were not the only company to show their support at the OCS. Dell also showed up on the vendor's floor to show off a slew of appliances. The technology heavyweight's support goes just behind the vendor floor as Dell is also a partner of the OCP. 

dell-table-ocp

Nimbus Data also showed up on the vendor floor this year. The flash storage firm showed off its latest in sustainable storage. Nimbus preached that its products would offer future-proof flash memory for a consumers datacentre.

server-box

This year's OCS was bigger than every before and the OCP expects it to keep growing. What started out as a group of Facebook engineers calling for corporation has quickly become a growing industry movement.

ocp-banner-showfloor

Dell forced to apologise to womankind

16 May 2012

Dell has taken to the echo-filled Google+ social networking stage to apologise to all women for comments made by a speaker at one of its events.

Elektronista blogger Christiane Vejlø was unfortunate to be in the audience at the event, where she was stunned by the hiring of Mads Christensen, an outspoken Dutch celebrity.

"I am in a state of shock realising that a large professional company as Dell will consciously hire someone with the well-known agenda Mads Christensen has," she noted.

"I have a really hard time seeing how the communication team in such a big organisation can justify booking a speaker/moderator that always talks with the agenda that women should shut up and men should learn to tell them that."

Christensen outdid himself at the event by recommending that the men in attendance say "shut up, bitch" to their partner on returning home.

"The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out. The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy," he is also quoted as saying.

Someone at Dell had hired him for the job, we don't know who. And someone at Dell has penned an apology.

"Mads Christensen made a number of inappropriate and insensitive remarks about women. Dell sincerely apologises for these comments. Going forward, we will be more careful selecting speakers at Dell events," said Dell in its Google+ post.

"As members of our Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) know, Dell is an enthusiastic and committed advocate of women in business and IT. These comments do not reflect Dell's company values and undermine much of the work we've done in support of women in the workplace overall."

Apple employees make more profit per head than any tech firm

18 May 2011

Apple employees generate a colossal $419,528 of profit each per year, more than any other technology company, according to figures from metrics firm Pingdom.

Cupertino's profit per employee has nearly tripled since 2008, although this is unsurprising considering the runaway success of the iPhone and iPad devices.

Even though Apple charges over the odds for products, and has a fiercely loyal user base, the figures are still impressive.

Meanwhile, fellow tech juggernaut Google came second, its workers generating approximately $336,297 each.

Microsoft made it into a respectable third spot with $244,831 per worker, but may have some explaining to do after it was revealed that its workforce has shrunk by 2,000 since 2008.

Yahoo also made it into the top 10, despite its financial troubles. The firm has actually become more profitable since 2008, its employees generating $83,824 per head compared to $31,199 three years ago.

Bizarrely, though, Yahoo has exactly the same number of employees as it did in 2008, chief executive Carol Bartz having wielded the axe to make sure the figure stays at 13,600.

Cisco, eBay, Adobe, Amazon and Dell were all reported to have lower profits per employee than they did in 2008, but are still well into the black.

As Apple has proved time and again, it takes only one killer product to turn a company's fortunes around.

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