The Tech News Blog

September 12, 2013

Dell Goes Private After $24.9 Billion Deal Approved

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Dell stockholders have approved a plan to take the company private.

Based on a preliminary vote tally, founder Michael Dell has enough support to acquire the company with Silver Lake Partners. The $24.9 billion deal means Dell stockholders will get $13.88 per share in cash.

"I am pleased with this outcome and am energized to continue building Dell into the industry's leading provider of scalable, end-to-end technology solutions," Michael Dell said in a statement. "As a private enterprise, with a strong private-equity partner, we'll serve our customers with a single-minded purpose and drive the innovations that will help them achieve their goals."

The deal was approved by those who hold a majority of Dell's shares, which is required by Delaware law. That excludes shares held by Michael Dell, those in related family trusts, Dell's Board of Directors, and certain members of its management.

"Over the course of more than a year, the Special Committee and its advisors conducted a disciplined and independent process to ensure the best outcome for Dell stockholders," said Alex Mandl, chairman of the Special Committee formed to evaluate the transaction and other strategic alternatives. "By voting in favor of the transaction, the stockholders have chosen the best option to maximize the value of their shares."

September 12, 2013

Twitter’s Going Public, Files Confidential IPO Docs

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Twitter will be the next big Internet firm to go public. The micro-blogging site today quietly filed for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and later announced the move - of course - on Twitter.

"We've confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale," the company tweeted from its @Twitter feed this afternoon.

The confidential nature of the filing means details about Twitter's plans are scant. As noted by Bloomberg, though, companies that make less than $1 billion in annual revenue can file confidentially under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.

The move comes shortly after Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg was quizzed at this week's TechCrunch Disrupt about his company's lackluster IPO. The social network filed for an IPO in Jan. 2012 and went public in May 2012, but hasn't exactly taken Wall Street by storm.

February 5, 2013

Dell Going Private in $24.4 Billion Deal

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As expected, Dell today announced plans to go private in a deal that will see Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners acquire the consumer electronics giant.

As part of the $24.4 billion deal, Dell stockholders will get $13.65 in cash for each share of Dell common stock. Dell said this is 25 percent higher than the closing share price of $10.88 on Jan. 11 - the last trading day before rumors about Dell going private emerged.

The deal will be paid for via cash and equity contributed by Michael Dell, as well as a $2 billion loan from Microsoft, contributions from Silver Lake and MSD Capital, rollover of existing debt, debt financing from various banks, and cash on hand. There are no financing conditions, Dell said.

Rumors about Microsoft's involvement first emerged last last month. But efforts to go private date back to Aug. 2012, when Michael Dell first approached Dell's board of directors. The board has approved the move, which also must get approval from unaffiliated stockholders.

The arrangement, however, also includes a 45-day "go-shop" period, during which Dell "will actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals." Qualifying bidders that pull out of the deal face a $180 million termination fee; bidders who do not qualify face a $450 million termination fee.

April 25, 2012

Facebook IPO Could be Delayed Until June

Facebook's recent acquisition spree could delay the social network's highly anticipated Wall Street debut until June, according to reports.

Citing people familiar with the matter, CNBC reports that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been so focused on acquisitions lately that his company isn't prepared for its initial public offering. Facebook has indeed been busy - the social media giant earlier this month agreed to buy the photo-sharing service Instagram for $1 billion, and on Monday said it would pay $550 million for hundreds of patents from Microsoft.

Though Facebook's IPO date hasn't even been made official, the social media giant has reportedly been shooting for an IPO sometime in May, with a roadshow as early as May 7. Rumors swirled earlier this month that Facebook was eyeing a stock market debut on May 17.

But with the recent acquisitions, Facebook executives haven't been able to focus on their IPO plans. As a result, the company likely won't launch its roadshow until May 14, at the earliest, pushing initial trading until early or mid-June. With the Memorial Day holiday falling on May 28, the market will likely by less liquid for several trading days in late May, and thus a bad time to begin trading.

April 12, 2012

Google Announces Stock Split, Touts Google+ as ‘Social Spine’

During an earnings call that also included the announcement of a stock split, Google chief Larry Page today touted Google+ as the company's "social spine" that helps tie together the search giant's various products.

"Once you're logged in, you're just using one Google, not a series of disconnected products," Page said.

Oddly, Page said he wanted to be specific about Google+ uptake, but then said only that 170 million people have "upgraded" to the social network without really explaining what that meant. During a January earnings call, Page said specifically that Google+ had 90 million users.

Since taking over as CEO for the second time last year, Page said he has also focused on "creating a simpler and more intuitive experience across Google." Technology should do the heavy lifting, "so users can get on with what makes them happiest – life."

He pointed to Chrome for Android as an example of this simplicity, as well as Google Play.

April 3, 2012

Apple: World’s First Trillion-Dollar Company?

Two Wall Street analysts have begun talking seriously about the possibility that Apple will become the world's first trillion-dollar company, with a stock price that will touch $1,000.

On Monday, analyst Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets initiated coverage of Apple with an eye-popping prediction that Apple's share price will touch $1,000 within 12 months. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster was only slightly less bullish, making the case that that milestone would be achieved by 2015 - if Apple released a television.

A $1,000 share price would push Apple's market cap (the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price) to about $1 trillion. Apple would become the world's first trillion-dollar company, the analysts noted.

The news helped push Apple's share price to a new high of $632.20 in Tuesday trading. Apple's stock has nearly doubled from $341 a year ago.

"Apple fever is spreading like a wildfire around the world," White said in a report, according to Bloomberg. A Topeka spokesman said that he couldn't provide a copy of White's report to PCMag without White's permission, and that White was traveling outside the country.

January 17, 2012

Netflix Investors File Class-Action Suit Over ‘Inflated’ Stock Prices

A group of shareholders filed a class-action suit against Netflix earlier this month, accusing the company of concealing business details, which resulted in artifically inflated stock prices.

Netflix "issued materially false and misleading statements regarding [its] business practices and its contracts with content providers," according to the lawsuit, which was filed by the City of Royal Oak Retirement System in California district court. "Specifically, defendants concealed negative trends in Netflix's business."

According to the suit, Netflix had short-term contracts with content providers that were set to expire and increase in price. Netflix "faced a Hobbesian choice to renegotiate the contracts in 2011 at much higher rates or not renew them at all."

As a result, Netflix opted to raise prices, according to the lawsuit, but failed to keep shareholders in the loop. In mid-July, Netflix de-linked its streaming and DVD services, so subscribing to one DVD at a time and unlimited streaming would be $7.99 each per month rather than $9.99 for both. Later, Netflix announced plans to further separate those businesses; the DVD business would be known as Qwikster and streaming would remain as Netflix. Amidst user backlash, however, Netflix reversed course on that.

August 27, 2011

Apple’s Tim Cook Receives $383.6 Million in Stock Through 2021

Apple has offered newly-appointed chief executive Tim Cook the equivalent of just under $384 million in stock, locking him up through 2021.

Cook's deal was disclosed in an SEC filing released on Friday. Cook will serve both as chief executive as well as a member of Apple's board.

Specifically, Apple granted Cook 1 million restricted stock units. At Friday's close of $383.58, the cash value of Cook's compensation would be above $383 million. Cook already received a salary last year of $800,000 plus a bonus of $900,000 for serving as Apple's chief operating officer.

Half of his Cook's new stock grant will vest in August 2016, and half will vest five years later, in Aug. 2021.