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Panel stands firm on plan to sell Dell

Carl Icahn is buying up Dell stock, CNBC reported.

Reuters/File 2007

Carl Icahn is buying up Dell stock, CNBC reported.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Dell Inc. committee that negotiated the slumping PC maker’s $24.4 billion buyout is standing behind the deal, despite misgivings of major shareholders who believe the price is too low.

In a statement released Wednesday, the four directors who oversaw the discussions to sell Dell provided their most extensive defense of the deal since it was announced a month ago.

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Chief executive Michael Dell, backed by other investors led by investment firm Silver Lake, is trying to buy out the company he founded for $13.65 per share.

The directors’ decision to reiterate their rationale suggests they aren’t having second thoughts. It comes as Dell’s largest independent shareholder prepares to lead a possible mutiny.

Southeastern Asset Management, with an 8.4 percent stake, has demanded the names of other shareholders. That information could be used to rally opposition to the deal. Mutual fund manager T. Rowe Price, with a nearly 5 percent stake, also is against the deal.

Those critics may soon be joined by billionaire Carl Icahn. He specializes in buying out-of-favor stocks and then pressuring corporate boards to make deals to boost the share price.

CNBC reported Icahn has been accumulating up to 100 million shares of Dell stock, which would give him a roughly 6 percent stake.

Many investors are betting the pot will have to be sweetened to get a deal done.

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