Icahn says 'I can't' and admits defeat over Dell

The billionaire activist shareholder has given up on his campaign to stop the Dell buyout

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 09 Sep 2013

A rather large thorn has just been extracted from Michael Dell’s side. Carl Icahn, has thrown in the towel and admitted: ‘It would be almost impossible to win the battle,’ and stop Dell buying back his eponymous computer company. Icahn will not continue to fight (on this particular matter).
Icahn, the dog to Dell’s bone, stood in the way of Mr Dell’s $24.9bn takeover plans, which would see the computer company become private again and under Michael Dell’s stewardship - where he would perform a drastic turnaround.
In a letter to Dell’s shareholders, Icahn admitted defeat. But not without having several sly digs – our favourites as follows:
‘We jokingly ask, "What’s the difference between Dell and a dictatorship?" The answer: Most functioning dictatorships only need to postpone the vote once to win.’
(Dell has postponed two votes, presumably waiting until he had more people on side.)
‘The Dell board, like so many boards in this country, reminds me of Clark Gable’s last words in "Gone with the Wind," they simply "don’t give a damn."’
(The Dell board accepted the latest offer of $24.5bn plus a one off payment of 13 cents per share at the beginning of the month.)
‘We therefore congratulate Michael Dell and I intend to call him to wish him good luck (he may need it).’
(Er, the PC industry is nose diving thanks to the dominance of smartphones and tablets - Dell’s net income fell 72% on last year in the second quarter).
The letter was announced over Icahn’s favourite medium, Twitter.

Icahn also fished for more Twitter followers in the shareholder letter saying: ‘If you are incensed by the actions of the Dell Board as much as I am, I hope you will choose to follow me on Twitter where from time to time I give my investment insights.’
For those of you not familiar with Icahn’s tweets (there are only 18 so far), he is prone to the odd rhyme:

 And a couple of Icahn’s tweets added an eye-watering $17bn to Apple’s share price in a matter of hours:

His tweets are clearly worth more than their weight in gold. The Dell share price has remained pretty flat on the this tweet so far, we’ll have to wait and see what Michael Dell comes out with.

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