Carl C. Icahn, the investor who is trying to take over Dell, today attacked the special committee set up by Dell to evaluate options for the troubled computer giant sying that they are trying to scare out investors.
In a letter sent on Sunday to stockholders of Dell, Icahn said that Dell's board conducts "a campaign to demean the business prospects of their own company," and that they are trying to "frighten stockholders into selling Dell to Michael Dell and Silver Lake," at what he believes is "a bargain price."
The letter comes two days after Dell's special committee warned of "substantial downside risk" if shareholders reject a buyout plan led by founder Michael Dell.
In a document filed with US regulators, the Dell panel said the personal computer business appears even bleaker than earlier forecasts, and that Dell still relies on the PC segment for two-thirds of its revenues.
Icann said the committee's filing "was a brazen attempt to scare ISS into approving the "uncontested" Dell offer." He added that Dell's issued pages included "confusing and obfuscating statements," but they "failed to change their projections in which they have Dell earning $3 billion of operating income for the year."
Carl Icahn and his investor allies and are pressing for an alternative plan that could keep Dell public, with an injection of cash. Icahn has obtained commitments for more than $5 billion in financing.
"I am proposing a total risk to my affiliates and myself of $5 billion (including our existing equity and proposed debt financing) and thereby provide an alternative to Michael Dell and Silver Lake acquiring the company at what I consider to be a bargain price. I have not risked $5 billion merely to get a bump from Michael Dell and Silver Lake. I have risked it to have a large investment in a company with great potential," Icann said.
"I urge stockholders to take this opportunity to stand up to the board that we believe presided over a number of mistakes made by Michael Dell in operating Dell over the last four years. Instead of holding him accountable for mistakes, they have chosen to award him and his new partners the opportunity to acquire our entire company at what I believe is a bargain price," Icann concluded.
Some news reports said Michael Dell was being pressured to raise his offer to be able to win backing from a majority of shareholders.
Icann's open letter to Dell's shareholders comes ahead of a July 18 shareholder vote on Michael Dell's $24.4 billion buyout plan, which would take Dell private.