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Dell: Carl Icahn's Still Got It

Alex Dumortier, CFA
July 5, 2013

On the back of this morning's encouraging June employment report, investors bid U.S. stocks up, with the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC), and the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI), both gaining 1%.

Consistent with those gains, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) (INDEX: ^VIX), Wall Street's "fear index," fell 8%, to close at 14.89, its lowest closing level since May 30. (The VIX is calculated from S&P 500 option prices and reflects investor expectations for stock market volatility over the coming 30 days.)

Dell: The heat is on
I have continued covering Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners' plan to take Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) private, but had come to the conclusion that the duo had this deal sewn up despite activist investor Carl Icahn's gesticulations. We're now in the home stretch, with a shareholder vote scheduled less than two weeks from now, and it appears that I may have underestimated the impact of Mr. Icahn's efforts.

In fact, the legendary investor has reduced Dell's board to "playing both sides." On the one hand, they're now trying to scare investors with the risk tha