Dell’s $24bn buyout vote pushed back

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Dell yesterday postponed a crucial vote on chief executive Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion (£16bn) buyout offer to 24 July.

It has bought time to solicit more proxy votes and drum up more support despite winning over several large swing shareholders at the 11th hour.

The company co-founder and partner Silver Lake fell short of the votes needed to push through the largest buyout since the financial crisis, even though Vanguard and BlackRock are now on board with the proposal, a source familiar with the matter said.

Dell shares climbed 2 per cent in early trade to $13.15, still lagging the $13.65 that Michael Dell and his private equity partner are offering shareholders.

Vanguard and BlackRock had previously opposed a deal that many say undervalues the world’s third-biggest PC maker, but ultimately switched sides.

Board member Alex Mandl, chairman of a special committee overseeing the buyout, set the new meeting date.

Other investors previously seen as swing votes, such as State Street, Bank of New York Mellon and Invesco also voted in favour of the deal on the eve of the shareholders’ meeting.

It is unusual for corporations to adjourn shareholder meetings at such short notice, but governance experts say it can be done if the company bylaws allow it. Complicating matters, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has amassed an 8.7 per cent stake in Dell, is leading a charge against the buyout with an offer of his own.

Both sides have flooded shareholders with letters and documents.