Those of us who recall Michael Dell’s “Job’s Comforter” advice to the then newly-returned Steve Jobs and “beleaguered” Apple at the 1997 Gartner Symposium and ITxpo97, will find more than a little irony in comparing the relative status of Dell, Inc. and Apple, Inc. in January, 2013.
Back in ’97, Mr. Dell, responding to a question from one of several thousand IT executives he addressed at the Symposium about what might be done to fix beleaguered Apple, famously replied “What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”
Fast-forward 16 years, and we find Bloomberg News’s Serena Saitto & Jeffrey McCracken reporting that Dell lost almost a third of its value last year, and is struggling due largely to competition from tablet makers such as…uh…Apple, Inc.
Saitto and McCracken note, citing “two people with knowledge of the matter” who requested anonymity, that Dell may announce this week that it’s being taken private by a group led by technology industry oriented investment firm Silver Lake Management LLC, and has hired independent investment banking advisory firm Evercore Partners Inc. to advise a special committee of Dell’s board, and to seek counsel on whether the company could get a better offer than Silver Lake’s.
The report says Dell expects shareholder lawsuits if a buyout deal is announced, and the “go-shop process” with Evercore Partners will show whether better offers from other buyout firms or companies might be possible.
Saitto and McCracken say that according to one of their insider sources, Dell—still the third-highest volume PC-maker of personal computers—would likely be valued at between $23 billion and $24 billion. According to Nasdaq, Apple’s current market capitalization (Jan. 22/13) is $470,232,958,319.00.
It would be understatement to say that Apple shareholders who hung in through those rough patches a decade and a half ago have done handsomely, thank you very much. Dell’s shareholders? Maybe not so much.
Funny old world.