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Southeastern Exercises 25 Million Dell Call Options

May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Southeastern Asset Management Inc., the money manager that is the largest outside investor of Dell Inc., said it exercised 25 million call options in the computer maker, giving it more shares to vote in the upcoming fight over the company’s future.

Southeastern, which has an 8.2 percent stake in Dell, exercised the options May 15, boosting the shares over which it has voting authority to 146 million, the Memphis, Tennessee-based firm said today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The move does not affect Southeastern’s ownership stake in Dell, the firm said.

Southeastern last week teamed up with billionaire Carl Icahn to offer Dell shareholders $12 a share in cash or stock, while also letting them retain stakes in a public company. Founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Management LLC have proposed a buyout at $13.65 in cash.

A call option gives the holder the right to buy securities at a specific price within a given time.

Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, today reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charles Stein in Boston at cstein4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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