Michael Dell increases bid again; board delays meeting until Sept. 12

So much for "best and final proposal."

A little over a week after Michael Dell warned that he wouldn't sweeten his bid for Dell Inc., the company founder -- on the brink of losing a shareholder vote to take the company private -- has done just that.

On the morning of a special shareholders meeting at headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, the company announced that Michael Dell, along with investment firm Silver Lake, had increased the purchase price by a dime to $13.75 a share. They also agreed to pay a special dividend of 13 cents a share and guaranteed that the third-quarter dividend of 8 cents a share would be paid at or before closing.

Shares of Dell were up 5.3% to $13.64 at 7:30 a.m. PDT.

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The company also said it would change the voting standard so that only actual votes cast would count toward the tally. Previously, absentee votes were to be counted as "no" votes, a rule that Michael Dell, who is also chairman and chief executive, had been fighting to change.

In light of the latest offer, the PC maker quickly adjourned the meeting and delayed it to allow shareholders to weigh the new terms. It is now scheduled for Sept. 12 at 7 a.m. PDT; this is the third time the meeting, originally scheduled for July 18, has been delayed.

The last-ditch effort raises the offer by at least $350 million, the company said, and is just the latest development in the tug-of-war between Michael Dell and billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn over the future of the struggling tech company.

Whereas Dell wants to take the company he founded in his college dorm room private, Icahn is proposing a recapitalization and a major shakeup of Dell's board and executive management.

The two sides have been bickering for months. On Wednesday, Icahn issued another open letter to shareholders titled, "Let the Desperate Dell Debacle Die."

"Enough! The stockholders have spoken -- and they do not want to be frozen out by Michael Dell/Silver Lake. Let the vote happen on Friday," Icahn said. "Michael Dell has said he is 'at peace either way.' We are glad to hear it!"

Dell's special committee also pushed back the record date for shareholders: Now shareholders as of Aug. 13, instead of June 3, can take place in the vote, another change designed to help bolster support for Michael Dell's bid.


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