The proposed buyout of Dell Inc. got added support from three leading investment advisory services, the company’s special committee to the board of directors said Tuesday.
The three services — Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis and Egan Jones — all issued reports that reiterated their earlier support in July for the buyout by company founder and CEO Michael Dell and his investment ally, Silver Lake Partners.
Dell and Silver Lake originally offered $24.4 billion, or $13.65 a share, for the company. Under pressure from several major investors, including activist Carl Icahn, they raised their offer to $13.75 a share, with a special dividend of 13 cents and the guarantee that the company will pay its regular third quarter dividend of 8 cents.
“Each (proxy firm) has conducted an independent review of the amended merger agreement and all of its terms and concluded, as has the special committee, that a sale of Dell for $13.88 per share in cash serves the best interests of Dell shareholders,” Dell Inc. said in a statement.
Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the buyout at a meeting set for Sept. 12 in Round Rock.
Analysts say that the deal, which was in doubt for much of July, now looks more likely to be approved.
Part of that agreement was the Dell board’s agreement to change the voting rules for approval of the deal. Abstaining votes no longer count against the proposal.
ISS, the nation’s biggest proxy advisory firm, said approval for “this transaction is warranted as it offers a meaningful premium to the unaffected share price, provides certainty of value and transfers the risk of the deteriorating PC business and the company’s ongoing business transformation to the buyout group.”
The report also noted that approval of the buyout is dependent on “the support of disinterested shareholders.”
Dell Inc.’s stock ended the day unchanged at $13.77 per share.
Dell Inc. is the largest private employer in Central Texas, with about 14,000 employees in the Austin area.