Michael Dell is once again making headlines as he tries to take his company public again in an unusual and controversial way.
Instead of an IPO, Dell wants to buy the “tracking stock” of VMware for a combo of cash and Dell’s stock. The tracking stock was created when Dell bought VMware’s majority stakeholder EMC as part of that mega $67 billion deal. VMware is publicly traded and the tracking stock gave EMC investors extra value for their portion of VMware’s equity, to encourage them to approve Dell’s offer for EMC, which they did.
The tracking stock is also publicly traded, separate from VMware’s common stock. Buying the tracking stock with Dell’s stock means Dell would instantly become into a public company again, without a traditional IPO.
But this deal initially earned the scorn of multiple hedge fund managers, who say Dell’s offer for the tracking stock is too low.Dell has bowed to the pressure and offered investors more money … a lot more money.
This deal has put Michael Dell back in the bullseye of his old nemesis Carl Icahn, who bought an 8% stake of the tracking stock and had threatened to sue if the offer isn’t either dropped or raised. He wanted Dell to triple the offer, though Dell isn’t raising his offer that by that much.
With an estimated net worth of $27.5 billion, Dell is one of the wealthiest people in the world. From his early career as one of the youngest CEOs of a Fortune 500 company until today, Dell is used to getting his way.
He was only 23 when his company had its IPO in 1988, and soon he was a billionaire.
Dell lives the extravagant life of a successful businessman as well, complete with all of the private planes, summer homes, and sweet rides you’d expect from a billionaire.