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Dell returns to public stock market after years as private company

The Verge logo The Verge 29/12/2018 Chris Welch
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Dell returned to the public market on Friday, ending a long saga that began when CEO and founder Michael Dell took the declining company private in 2013 through a $25 billion buyout with Silver Lake. The next five years saw Dell make gains in cloud computing and the enterprise, and the company’s gaming PC division is also a strong performer. Dell opened at $46 on Friday under the NYSE symbol DELL and quickly started trading up. 

Earlier this year, Dell announced it would become a public company again through a complex arrangement that involved buying back tracking shares for VMware, the software business that Dells own an 80 percent chunk of. Those shares “were born as part of Dell’s complicated deal to buy EMC a few years ago” according to Business Insider. Activist investor Carl Icahn wasn’t happy with Dell’s initial $21.7 billion proposal and at first sued to block the move, only to later drop his protest when Dell sweetened the deal for VMware shareholders.

Taking over an existing listed stock allowed Dell to avoid the usual IPO process and questions or pressure regarding the company’s debt. Silver Lake is retaining its 24 percent piece of Dell, according to The Wall Street Journal. Having accomplished the goals that convinced him to take Dell private, Michael Dell can now find new investors and equity for the company.

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