Jul 2, 2018

Dell's public market return

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

Michael Dell. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Dell is returning to the public markets, five years after going private in a $25 billion transaction backed by Silver Lake.

Why it's a big deal: Because Michael Dell originally took his eponymous company private, in large part, because of his growing distaste for public market short-termism.

And while he says the reversal is partially prompted by a successful transformation enabled by Dell's private tenure (including its $67 billion EMC purchase), it also reflects the need to service a big debt-load and few viable buyers at its increased scale.

  • It's a complex transaction that involves Dell and Silver Lake offering cash or shares to holders of a Dell tracking stock, valued at $21.7 billion, with financing coming via an $11 billion special dividend being issued by listed Dell subsidiary VMWare.
  • This move comes after Dell had explored other options, including a pure IPO or reverse merger with VMWare.
  • Dell says that it has cut its debt by $13 billion since closing the EMC acquisition, and that it generated $21.4 billion in GAAP revenue (+19%) and $2.4 billion (+33%) in adjusted EBITDA for its most recent fiscal quarter.

More from the NY Times: "Not only does Dell still supply the machines that sit on the desks inside many office buildings, it has also found a ready market selling equipment and software to the kinds of networked computing services that were once thought to spell its end."

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