Dell Board Says Ready to Repay Icahn for Offer-Related Expenses

Dell Inc. said it’s willing to reimburse billionaire Carl Icahn for expenses he incurs in the process of bidding for the computer maker.

Icahn is offering $15 a share in cash for as much as 58.1 percent of Dell’s stock, according to a March 25 statement. Blackstone has offered to pay at least $14.25 a share to current investors with an option to hold onto some of their stake through a so-called equity stub.

The board, which has said it will seek the best possible offer for the company, is reimbursing the expenses of potential acquirers to encourage any and all bids. The bids by Icahn and Blackstone may be superior to Michael Dell and Silver Lake’s $24.4 billion buyout plan, putting more pressure on them to sweeten their offer for the computer maker.

Dell’s board sent a letter to Icahn today in response to his request for expense reimbursement, saying it was willing to do so if he commits contractually to work “within our process” and not threaten litigation or a proxy fight. It said the reimbursement offer is under the same terms granted to Blackstone Group LP and Silver Lake Management LLC.

Regardless of any decision by Icahn on this proposal, Dell’s board said it would be willing to open the company’s books to Icahn.

Michael Dell, who founded the PC provider in his Texas dorm room in 1984, needs to ensure majority control so he can pursue his plan to retool the struggling company as a maker of data-center gear and software for corporations, without the scrutiny of public investors.

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