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Dell shareholders approve buyout

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By Brian Gaar and Kirk Ladendorf

Dell Inc. shareholders have approved the buyout of the company by founder Michael Dell and his financial ally Silver Lake Partners.

The company reported Thursday that a preliminary tally showed a majority of votes cast at a shareholders meeting were in favor of the deal, which will cost $24.9 billion.

The decision by shareholders ends a yearlong campaign by Michael Dell that endured months of struggle with billionaire shareholder activist Carl Icahn.

The buyout was in doubt throughout much of the summer until Michael Dell and Silver Lake raised their offer for the company and the Dell board approved a change in voting rules for the approval process. Three previous special shareholder meetings on the buyout had been adjourned without a vote taken.

Icahn lost a subsequent court hearing in Delaware that attempted to challenge those moves.

The actual buyout is expected to be completed before the end of October, with the company to be taken private shortly thereafter. Michael Dell will own about three-quarters of the new company while Silver Lake, a California investment firm, will own about one-quarter.

Michael Dell has said the buyout was needed so that he could speed the transformation of the 29-year-old company into a business that is far more competitive in a changed information technology landscape.

Michael Dell has said broadly that he intends to develop or acquire a broader range of important hardware, software and services capabilities for enterprise clients. He also intends to push harder to expand Dell’s personal computer and tablet businesses, to hire a highly trained sales force that can better sell advanced products, and to compete more aggressively in emerging marketing that include Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. In addition, he has said the company will work to improve the “customer experience” in dealing with Dell.

Dell, which is the world’s third-largest personal computer maker, employs more than 100,000 workers worldwide.

©2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

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Dell shareholders approve buyout