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Icahn Associates offers $14 a share to buy 62 per cent of Dell

Urges shareholders to reject $13.65 per share offer of Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners.

Investor Carl Icahn, through his firm Icahn Associates, has proposed to pay $14 a share to buy 62 per cent of stake in Dell if shareholders rejected an offer of $13.65 per share (totalling $24.4bn) placed by Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

Dell shareholders are expected to vote on Michael Dell’s offer on 18 July 2013.

Icahn intends to finance the offer of $16bn for 1.1 billion shares, through $5.2bn new debt, $7.5bn in cash from Dell and $2.9bn through the sale of Dell receivables.

Meanwhile, Southeastern Asset Management has sold over 72 million shares, which is half of its stake in Dell, to Icahn at a price of $13.52 a share. Icahn now holds 4.1 per cent in the personal computer manufacturing giant.

Icahn and Southeastern jointly own 13 per cent of Dell.

Southeastern Asset Management, in a release, said that it continues to believe that the Michael Dell / Silver Lake management buyout proposal undervalues the company and its prospects going forward.

“Southeastern and Icahn Associates have been working diligently to provide a better alternative for shareholders. Southeastern has determined that Icahn is in the best position to lead the development of an alternative transaction and to generate a better outcome for shareholders,” it said.

The company said that it will vote, at Dell’s Annual Meeting, for a new group of directors.

A statement issued by Special Committee of the Board of Dell said that they are reviewing the latest concept put forth by Carl Icahn, but called it a further deviation from Icahn’s original proposal of a buyout at $15 per share. It observed that Ichan’s concept would likely force shareholders to continue to own shares in the highly leveraged company that would result.

“Mr. Icahn’s concept is not, in its present state, a transaction that the Special Committee could endorse and execute – there is neither financing, nor any commitment from any party to participate, nor any remedy for the company and its shareholders if the transaction is not consummated. In addition, the concept does not adequately address the liquidity issues and other risks the Committee previously highlighted,” the statement added.

Photo: Getty Images
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How can Britain become a nation of homeowners?

David Cameron must unlock the spirit of his postwar predecessors to get the housing market back on track. 

In the 1955 election, Anthony Eden described turning Britain into a “property-owning democracy” as his – and by extension, the Conservative Party’s – overarching mission.

60 years later, what’s changed? Then, as now, an Old Etonian sits in Downing Street. Then, as now, Labour are badly riven between left and right, with their last stay in government widely believed – by their activists at least – to have been a disappointment. Then as now, few commentators seriously believe the Tories will be out of power any time soon.

But as for a property-owning democracy? That’s going less well.

When Eden won in 1955, around a third of people owned their own homes. By the time the Conservative government gave way to Harold Wilson in 1964, 42 per cent of households were owner-occupiers.

That kicked off a long period – from the mid-50s right until the fall of the Berlin Wall – in which home ownership increased, before staying roughly flat at 70 per cent of the population from 1991 to 2001.

But over the course of the next decade, for the first time in over a hundred years, the proportion of owner-occupiers went to into reverse. Just 64 percent of households were owner-occupier in 2011. No-one seriously believes that number will have gone anywhere other than down by the time of the next census in 2021. Most troublingly, in London – which, for the most part, gives us a fairly accurate idea of what the demographics of Britain as a whole will be in 30 years’ time – more than half of households are now renters.

What’s gone wrong?

In short, property prices have shot out of reach of increasing numbers of people. The British housing market increasingly gets a failing grade at “Social Contract 101”: could someone, without a backstop of parental or family capital, entering the workforce today, working full-time, seriously hope to retire in 50 years in their own home with their mortgage paid off?

It’s useful to compare and contrast the policy levers of those two Old Etonians, Eden and Cameron. Cameron, so far, has favoured demand-side solutions: Help to Buy and the new Help to Buy ISA.

To take the second, newer of those two policy innovations first: the Help to Buy ISA. Does it work?

Well, if you are a pre-existing saver – you can’t use the Help to Buy ISA for another tax year. And you have to stop putting money into any existing ISAs. So anyone putting a little aside at the moment – not going to feel the benefit of a Help to Buy ISA.

And anyone solely reliant on a Help to Buy ISA – the most you can benefit from, if you are single, it is an extra three grand from the government. This is not going to shift any houses any time soon.

What it is is a bung for the only working-age demographic to have done well out of the Coalition: dual-earner couples with no children earning above average income.

What about Help to Buy itself? At the margins, Help to Buy is helping some people achieve completions – while driving up the big disincentive to home ownership in the shape of prices – and creating sub-prime style risks for the taxpayer in future.

Eden, in contrast, preferred supply-side policies: his government, like every peacetime government from Baldwin until Thatcher’s it was a housebuilding government.

Why are house prices so high? Because there aren’t enough of them. The sector is over-regulated, underprovided, there isn’t enough housing either for social lets or for buyers. And until today’s Conservatives rediscover the spirit of Eden, that is unlikely to change.

I was at a Conservative party fringe (I was on the far left, both in terms of seating and politics).This is what I said, minus the ums, the ahs, and the moment my screensaver kicked in.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.