Dell has begun its new life as a private company, with officials announcing Oct. 29 that CEO Michael Dell and financial backer Silver Lake Partners have completed the $24.9 billion buyout of the world's third-largest PC vendor.
The closing of the deal means that investors will get $13.88 per share and that Michael Dell and other executives will have greater freedom away from the prying eyes of Wall Street in their efforts to transform the company from primarily a PC vendor into an enterprise IT solutions and services provider.
"Today, Dell enters an exciting new chapter as a private enterprise," the CEO said in a statement. "Our 110,000 team members worldwide are 100 percent focused on our customers and aggressively executing our long-term strategy for their benefit."
It wasn't an easy road for Michael Dell to get to this point. Almost immediately after announcing his intention in February of buying the company and taking it private, some large investors balked at the $13.65-per-share price, saying it was too low. Within months, activist investor Carl Icahn made his own bid for the company, an effort that dragged out for months until investors—after Michael Dell upped his bid and Dell's board of directors changed the voting rules—in September approved the deal.
Throughout the months, Michael Dell argued that as a private company, Dell could more quickly restructure, an effort that the CEO began several years ago. The financial numbers of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and other tech vendors are being hurt by the slowing worldwide PC sales. Dell is looking to reduce its reliance on the PC business by growing its capabilities in the higher-margin enterprise IT market.
Michael Dell had said that the company may need to make decisions that sacrifice short-term profits for long-term benefits, something that would be difficult to do as a public company that has to report its financial numbers every three months.
In the months since proposing to buy the company, Michael Dell has consistently said that PCs will continue to be an important part of the company's overall portfolio, and that Dell would continue investing in PCs and tablets. He's also said Dell would continue buying businesses to build out its enterprise offerings. The company over the past several years has spent billions of dollars buying almost two-dozen companies in such areas as storage, networking, security and software.