Court delays conference on Icahn lawsuit to block Dell deal

Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:23pm EDT
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By Dave Warner

(Reuters) - A legal battle between activist investor Carl Icahn and computer magnate Michael Dell has been delayed until Friday, with a court setting a hearing then on Icahn's contention that Dell's bid to buy back Dell Inc is "an insult to shareholders."

Delaware's Chancery Court scheduled a conference for 12:30 p.m. Friday to determine whether to grant Icahn's request for an expedited hearing.

Icahn ranks as the No. 2 investor in Dell, with 8.9 percent of the shares. Known for his aggressive tactics, Icahn sued Dell and its board this month as part of a broader effort to derail CEO Michael Dell's proposed $25 billion buyout of the world's No. 3 PC maker.

Icahn, who argues that the offer severely undervalues the company, wants the court to stop Dell Inc from changing voting requirements in favor of the CEO's bid, while forcing the company to hold a special vote on the proposal at the same time it convenes its annual shareholders' meeting. Icahn wants to nominate a slate of directors to replace several board members, arguing that they are not acting in shareholders' best interests in accepting the CEO's deal.

The court had originally listed the conference for Monday before Chancellor Leo Strine, but rescheduled it for Friday, according to a court official and a lawyer familiar with the case.

At that time, Strine could rule whether Icahn has made his case to expedite the case and could also set a date for the proceeding, the court official said.

Icahn's lawyers will have to show that Icahn is at risk of irreparable injury if they are to win their bid for an expedited hearing.

Dell reached a new agreement with Dell Inc on August 2, boosting his bid for the company in hopes of ending months of wrangling. The new bid included a special dividend of 13 cents a share on top of a 10-cent increase in the sale price to $13.75 per share. If the deal goes through, it would be worth $25 billion.   Continued...

Michael Dell Chairman and CEO of Dell Inc. arrives at the launch event of Windows 8 operating system in New York, October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson