Talking tech since 2003

Since Michael Dell announced his intentions to take the computer company he founded private, he’s had something of an uphill battle in getting it done. But after the recommendation of independent shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, or ISS, the battle for the now infamous Dell buyout may finally be won.

According to a post on the Wall Street Journal, ISS has issued a recommendation to Dell shareholders that they should try and clear the way for Michael Dell to close his $24.4 billion buyout deal. In its recommendation, ISS wrote that the buyout “offers a 25.5% premium to the unaffected share price, provides certainty of value, and transfers the risk of the deteriorating PC business and the company’s on-going business transformation to the buyout group.”

In short, the deal would provide a solid, dependable reward for the shareholders, while minimizing the risk. It’s no secret that Dell’s hit hard times recently, and it’s not surprising that the firm would advise shareholders to take the deal while it’s on the table. Until things turn around, it’s best to just get out while the getting’s good. The lowered risk in the deal for shareholders also contrasts sharply with the alternative deal proposed by investor Carl Icahn, who recently boasted of having $1.6 billion in financing secured. In its recommendation, ISS said that Icahn’s alternative carried “undeniable risk.” Ouch.

Just yesterday, I had the chance to test out a Dell Latitude 10 tablet PC that ran Windows 8, and it worked like a champ. It may not be the beefy Surface Pro, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the device worked, and how quickly I got used to navigating Windows 8 with just a flick of a finger. So considering how impressed I was with the gadget, and how difficult it’s been to sell them, it seems that Dell going private is exactly what the company needs right now.

Going private would allow Dell to start operating with much more flexibility, and to potentially find a way to better adapt to the shifting trends in the tech market. Having to please shareholders is always a tricky bit of business, and can keep companies from making moves that could be possible game-changers. Dell going private would take away the need to appease the shareholders and could allow the company to try new things and see what happens.

Speaking personally, I’m hopeful that the buyout goes through when the stockholders meet to vote on July 18—because I’m eager to see what Michael Dell’s got up his sleeves for a leaner, meaner computer company.

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