If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by investors

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If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by investors

Postby MekongTrader » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:28 am

Hi all,

It looks like Dell will de-list and cease being a publicly-traded company.

What will happen to the investors who hold Dell stocks?

MT
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby jon-nyc » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:26 am

It gets purchased for cash.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:34 am

The independent non executive directors must write to shareholders whether they think the deal is a fair price for the shares-- they get a 'Fairness Opinion' from an investment bank on the right value of the shares, and they will include the summary of that in the letter (that's London Stock Exchange rules-- I doubt NYSE is any different).

If a majority of shareholders accept then ALL shareholders must tender their shares for purchase. Those who don't fill in the paperwork will still eventually get their cash at the price per share agreed by Michael Dell and his backers with the institutional shareholders who have to vote for the bid for it to go through.

It is better to get the paperwork in when it comes to you-- get your money sooner. It's dead money once the deal is agreed and the takeover ratified by the shareholders.

(if you read Barbarians at the Gate, takeover of RJ Reynolds Tobacco, all these Bohemian tobacco farmers in NC, owned the stock for generations when the LBO was done-- they didn't want to sell, but they had to).
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby jjbiv » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:09 pm

This raises an interesting disadvantage to holding individual stocks that I haven't heard discussed much (if ever): lack of ability to completely control the timing of capital gains/losses. If a public company gets acquired the choice is made for you and you're simply along for the ride and forced to lock in your gain/loss. Holding equities in a fund allows these gains/losses to net against each other. You could have "got lucky" and bought what you believed was a great company at an attractive valuation (but above the buyout price) and Dell could have a great or terrible future ahead of it; but, either way current shareholders will not be able to participate in the eventual outcome. This just adds another reason to the list of why it is difficult to beat the market by holding individual stocks.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby rob » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:16 pm

jjbiv wrote:This raises an interesting disadvantage to holding individual stocks that I haven't heard discussed much (if ever): lack of ability to completely control the timing of capital gains/losses.

Not sure how this is worse then mutual funds that distribute cap gains.... It's at the complete control of the mutual fund manager and IRS forces those to be distributed (mostly) every year whereas corporate actions like this are pretty rare. I don't think this is a reason to hold a fund over stock - there are others :-) but this isn't one of them.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby baw703916 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:23 pm

jjbiv,

In my days of owning individual stocks, I actually did pretty well in terms of return, for the following reason. I tended to pick stocks (often of midcap companies) that had lowish P/Es (but not in obvious financial trouble) and which seemed to be regarded as dreadfully boring or unglamourous by the market (hence had low multiples for no obvious risk-based reason).

The reason they did well is that they had a tendency to become takeover carpets--this happened several times. Eventually I stopped buying individual stocks not so much because of bad results but because I kept getting stuck with unplanned-for capital gains. So I completely agree with you on this point.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby magician » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:44 pm

MekongTrader wrote:Hi all,

It looks like Dell will de-list and cease being a publicly-traded company.

What will happen to the investors who hold Dell stocks?

MT

They sell their shares for cash.
Simplify the complicated side; don't complify the simplicated side.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby richard » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:00 pm

Valuethinker wrote:The independent non executive directors must write to shareholders whether they think the deal is a fair price for the shares-- they get a 'Fairness Opinion' from an investment bank on the right value of the shares, and they will include the summary of that in the letter (that's London Stock Exchange rules-- I doubt NYSE is any different).

If a majority of shareholders accept then ALL shareholders must tender their shares for purchase. Those who don't fill in the paperwork will still eventually get their cash at the price per share agreed by Michael Dell and his backers with the institutional shareholders who have to vote for the bid for it to go through.

It is better to get the paperwork in when it comes to you-- get your money sooner. It's dead money once the deal is agreed and the takeover ratified by the shareholders.

(if you read Barbarians at the Gate, takeover of RJ Reynolds Tobacco, all these Bohemian tobacco farmers in NC, owned the stock for generations when the LBO was done-- they didn't want to sell, but they had to).

For what it's worth, the buyout is in the form of a merger. If the requisite number of shares are voted in favor of the merger, all shares are converted into the right to receive cash. In order to actually receive the cash, you (or your broker) has to fill out some paperwork. If you don't fill out the paperwork, you don't get the cash.

It's not clear what percentage of shares have to vote in favor of the merger. The press release only mentions the vote of unaffiliated shareholders (probably a majority of the shares not held by Michael Dell).

The company will send the shareholders a proxy statement, which will include the views of a special committee of independent directors and a description of the analysis of the investment banks advising the special committee.

The special committee will shop the company for the next 45 days, looking for a better deal.

The takeover of RJ Reynolds Tobacco (which had become RJR Nabisco) was done by a different technique.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:54 pm

Richard

Thank you.

AFAIK UK doesn't have mergers any more.

So if the company is bought out, they just compulsorarily acquire your shares (unless you own more than 10% of the equity, and refuse to accept the deal). They can also do what is called a Scheme of Arrangement (if they have 75% of the shares voting) and then just dissolve the company (so you'd potentially need 26% of the company to block). Again you'd still get your money once the company was dissolved.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:56 pm

It's pretty important here that you have to fill out the paperwork to get your cash.

Hat tip to Richard.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:58 pm

baw703916 wrote:jjbiv,

In my days of owning individual stocks, I actually did pretty well in terms of return, for the following reason. I tended to pick stocks (often of midcap companies) that had lowish P/Es (but not in obvious financial trouble) and which seemed to be regarded as dreadfully boring or unglamourous by the market (hence had low multiples for no obvious risk-based reason).

The reason they did well is that they had a tendency to become takeover carpets--this happened several times. Eventually I stopped buying individual stocks not so much because of bad results but because I kept getting stuck with unplanned-for capital gains. So I completely agree with you on this point.


I had done the same thing but managed to pick up enough stinkers (stocks that kept going south) that I decided I was the mug in this particular card game.

I think CP Rail was the only exception (a corporate raider forced a change in the Board, stock price shot up).

Do not ask me about Nortel ;-).
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby huntertheory » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:31 pm

Valuethinker's post confuses several things, though the bottom line here is that if the deal goes through -- and while that appears likely, it's not a certainty -- you'll get cash for your shares.

Dell's buyout is actually on the slightly more complex side because not only is it a leveraged buyout, which will be effected through the use of a statutory merger, but the largest shareholder of the Company, Michael Dell, essentially brokered the deal. As a result if challenged (and it certainly will be, as these things always are) the merger will be tested under a rule known as "entire fairness" in Delaware law (because Dell is a Delaware company), which means that the court will look to see whether the price per share is a fair deal for shareholders *and* whether or not the process of selling the Company was a fair one.

That process is actually still ongoing. Dell formed a special committee of independent directors to negotiate and work on the buyout because of Dell's influence, and, based on Dell's press release today, we know there will be a "Go Shop" period where Dell is to actively solicit additional bids from rivals -- a way of "checking the market" to make sure that the buyout group (Michael Dell, Silver Lake and Microsoft) aren't getting a steal. Of course such Go Shop provisions aren't exactly a free pass for Dell to shop itself, and usually contain other provisions which limit the practicality of receiving additional bids from potential rivals (i.e. that Dell and Microsoft could match a new bid and, if Dell actually agreed to be sold to someone else, the Dell/Silver Lake/Microsoft buyout group would get paid a "break up" fee for their troubles).

In any event, barring something strange, it does appear that the Company will be sold to this buyout group. As Richard points out this will require approval by the stockholders -- in Delaware mergers require majority approval. One thing I'm actually not sure about under Delaware law is whether Dell himself is excluded from that vote, i.e. is it a majority of the Dell shareholders not named Michael Dell, because of his large position and his involvement? Someone else may be able to chime in.

Delaware has a concept known as "appraisal rights," meaning that if you, as an individual shareholder, are convinced that the Company is being sold way too cheaply you can choose not to get cash in the merger and instead sue (usually joining with other shareholders) to have a Court, using various evidence and experts, determine the proper value of your shares. This is not usually a winner though there have been successful cases before. (This is actually an interesting case since Dell has $14bn of cash on hand and is being sold for a total of $24bn, and the stock traded at $18 last year while it's being sold for around $13.65 now -- there's an argument the stock is being sold too cheaply.) Anyway just trying to flesh things out.

As I said though, the bottom line is, assuming the deal goes through, you will get $13.65/share in cash if the deal goes through, though there is uncertainty.

Note that this is one reason why, despite the announced buyout price of $13.65, the price actually finished today only at $13.42 -- a big jump over the $11/share it traded at a few weeks ago, but not quite the buyout price. If you want to realize your gain and move on with your life, it's perfectly rational to sell your shares now rather than wait for the incremental 20 cents per share. (I am not sure if there are any dividends, etc planned.) It's worth noting that in situations like this most retail and long-term institutional investors (mutual funds) tend to sell out and the stock ends up being held almost entirely by arbitrageur funds who are typically taking a leveraged bet on making that incremental 20 cents over the course of a couple of months -- which if successful can equal returns of 20-100% on an annualized basis. (And can go south quickly if the deal falls apart or some regulatory approval delays the closing for an extra six months.)

Lastly, regarding the final point about not timing your capital gains, my grandmother recently had a stock in a company she'd owned for over 40 years - which had always reinvested dividends - bought out in the last year. She neither wanted the capital gains nor wanted the cash to reinvest (though I convinced her to stick it one of her indexes). It's a risk but not a major risk.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby LH » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:43 pm

dunno what happens to dell, you will get cash at some price yeah.

Here is what happened at spacedev, a company I bought as a long term hold space play, back when I was buying stocks still pre 2007 with about 10percent or so of my money.

The spacedev founder, started selling off stock, consistently.

This depressed the stock price of course.

Then after a few years, the company was taken private. I think the original owner, likely got part of the new private company, likely some big players did too.

The "long term" small players like me, where forced out, at a price that had been depressed by year + of continual selling by the founder....... I would not have willingly sold my part of the company at that price.

Now, maybe or even likely, all of it was up and up, certainly founder has right to diversify his holdings and sell and such, but man, if someone wanted to plan to take a company private, that would be the way to do it....

Now of course, if the company was deemed worthwhile, someone would come in with a hostile bid etc. Or even keep buying as the selling is selling, with competition driving the price higher. But there is substantial asymmetry of information. And its the owner selling......

Another reason I quit buying stocks, even if you WANT to gamble, pick a stock for a long term play, you dont have the right to stay in the game, you get bought out, and your done.... You cant ride out the down times, the company, if private investors think its cheap, simply gets privatized, the big boys stay in as I understand it.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby bertilak » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:03 pm

rob wrote:
jjbiv wrote:This raises an interesting disadvantage to holding individual stocks that I haven't heard discussed much (if ever): lack of ability to completely control the timing of capital gains/losses.

Not sure how this is worse then mutual funds that distribute cap gains....

If X% of your wealth is in a company that gets bought out you could have a BIG cap gains.
If X% of your wealth is in TSM then the whole TSM would have to get bought out to get the same (approx) tax hit. This is not likely, to say the least.

The risk is massively diluted in TSM. Once more diversification comes to the rescue!
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby grabiner » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:49 pm

bertilak wrote:
rob wrote:
jjbiv wrote:This raises an interesting disadvantage to holding individual stocks that I haven't heard discussed much (if ever): lack of ability to completely control the timing of capital gains/losses.

Not sure how this is worse then mutual funds that distribute cap gains....

If X% of your wealth is in a company that gets bought out you could have a BIG cap gains.
If X% of your wealth is in TSM then the whole TSM would have to get bought out to get the same (approx) tax hit. This is not likely, to say the least.

The risk is massively diluted in TSM. Once more diversification comes to the rescue!


More important, it's not just diluted in the index fund, but likely to be cancelled by capital losses caused by the ETF structure. This is why even funds such as Total Stock Market and 500 Index distributed capital gains in the past, but very few of Vanguard's index funds distribute capital gains now.

If a stock has a 1% chance of being liquidated, and if liquidated, half the value is a capital gain, then you have a 1% chance of getting a 50% capital gain. If a fund holds 100 of these stocks, then the fund expects to have a 0.5% capital gain every year, which isn't any better for you as an investor. But if the fund has an ETF class and redemptions allow it to realize a 1% capital loss every year, then the 0.5% gain will not turn into a tax bill. (And capital losses can be carried over; if the fund has accumulated a 3% capital loss in previous years, then it can handle six liquidations and still not distribute a capital gain.)
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby MekongTrader » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:54 pm

magician wrote:
MekongTrader wrote:Hi all,

It looks like Dell will de-list and cease being a publicly-traded company.

What will happen to the investors who hold Dell stocks?

MT

They sell their shares for cash.


How does this work for the individual investor having a brokerage account? Shares are automatically sold and the cash goes into the account? When does this happen? Any paperwork to be filed or the sale is done automatically?

Thanks for replying everybody.

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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby Valuethinker » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:21 am

Huntertheory and Richard

Thank you for the additional detail.

I should have clarified I was making an analogy from the London Stock Exchange rules. Mea culpa.

So differences that have emerged from this discussion. In London:

- Rule 3 (ie Fairness Opinion) is required from the non execs
- Mandatory Offer has a minimum level of 50%+1 share (although Scheme of Arrangement, ie 75%, is now more likely) although you can set it higher
- there are no mergers as such, only takeovers (even if the organizational intent is a true merger)
- 10% is the blocking level for a public company (Companies Act 2006) unless the Scheme approach is used
- shareholder oppression suits are rare (in the UK, the plaintiff will pay the defendant's costs if plaintiff loses) and Class Actions are difficult (impossible?). However if the shares are being materially undervalued, institutional investors would most assuredly kick up a fuss, there have been cases where they have secured higher offers

For Mandatory offer Michael Dell could vote his shares, but not for a Scheme of Arrangement (court organized dissolution of the target).

Were this deal done in the UK Michael Dell and his Private Equity backers would create an acquisition vehicle (often offshore) which would make an offer for the shares of Dell the publicly listed company either via Mandatory offer or SOA.

Once it had acquired 100% of the shares (either by sale by the owners, or compulsorary purchase (Scheme you would actually dissolve the existing share capital)) then the existing Dell shares would likely be cancelled, the acquisition vehicle would own the legal entity that is Dell.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby Valuethinker » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:29 am

huntertheory wrote:
Delaware has a concept known as "appraisal rights," meaning that if you, as an individual shareholder, are convinced that the Company is being sold way too cheaply you can choose not to get cash in the merger and instead sue (usually joining with other shareholders) to have a Court, using various evidence and experts, determine the proper value of your shares. This is not usually a winner though there have been successful cases before. (This is actually an interesting case since Dell has $14bn of cash on hand and is being sold for a total of $24bn, and the stock traded at $18 last year while it's being sold for around $13.65 now -- there's an argument the stock is being sold too cheaply.) Anyway just trying to flesh things out.


Dell's rationale for wanting to take the company private is thin given the size of his shareholding and his association with active management of the company.

The argument is wrenching changes are better done outside of the public eye, the company may make significant losses for several quarters etc.

And yet, if the company as a public company announced it was doing that, given the strength of its balance sheet, I have little doubt investors would cheer. And it is probably invulnerable to a hostile takeover given Michael Dell would presumably oppose such an action.

In other words, if a radical restructuring, Dell exiting PC business etc, is the right thing to do, the company management should just do it, the stock market is likely to fall into line. Saves the legal and advisory costs of the buyout.

So this is about getting the stock cheaply, and about using leverage to lower corporate taxes.

Assuming success in 3 to 5 years no doubt we will see another Dell IPO. However the company is likely to be smaller, given their strategic agenda is (presumably) to exit PCs and move into services?

I have just bought my 4th or 5th Dell computer and the family as a whole has had about 10 of them, so this gives me some sadness. Passing of an era.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby magician » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:50 am

MekongTrader wrote:
magician wrote:
MekongTrader wrote:Hi all,

It looks like Dell will de-list and cease being a publicly-traded company.

What will happen to the investors who hold Dell stocks?

MT

They sell their shares for cash.

How does this work for the individual investor having a brokerage account? Shares are automatically sold and the cash goes into the account? When does this happen? Any paperwork to be filed or the sale is done automatically?

As I've never encountered it personally, I'm not sure. Sorry.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby sscritic » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:03 pm

MekongTrader wrote:How does this work for the individual investor having a brokerage account? Shares are automatically sold and the cash goes into the account? When does this happen? Any paperwork to be filed or the sale is done automatically?

The fun one is when you hold the certificate and "forget" to sign it and send it in. There was a previous thread on grandparents(?) holding a certificate for Pixar when Disney bought it out. The grandparents moved, the payment was sent to the old address (or maybe not, the story changed), yada, yada.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby bucksfan2 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:10 pm

bertilak wrote:If X% of your wealth is in a company that gets bought out you could have a BIG cap gains.
If X% of your wealth is in TSM then the whole TSM would have to get bought out to get the same (approx) tax hit. This is not likely, to say the least.

The risk is massively diluted in TSM. Once more diversification comes to the rescue!


Lets assume I owned $10,000 worth of Dell stock. Using a one year parameter you would have seen an 110% gain.
Lets assume I owned $10,000 worth of Vanguard Total World (VT). Using a one year parameter I would have seen a gain of around 22%.

Owning DELL I would have gained over $11,100 while owning VT I would have gained around $2200. Even if I am taxed at a 35% rate I would have had a gain of $7200.

I don't know, but if it were up to me I wouldn't be championing diversification and tax efficiency in this case.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby jjbiv » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:35 pm

bucksfan2 wrote:
bertilak wrote:If X% of your wealth is in a company that gets bought out you could have a BIG cap gains.
If X% of your wealth is in TSM then the whole TSM would have to get bought out to get the same (approx) tax hit. This is not likely, to say the least.

The risk is massively diluted in TSM. Once more diversification comes to the rescue!


Lets assume I owned $10,000 worth of Dell stock. Using a one year parameter you would have seen an 110% gain.
Lets assume I owned $10,000 worth of Vanguard Total World (VT). Using a one year parameter I would have seen a gain of around 22%.

Owning DELL I would have gained over $11,100 while owning VT I would have gained around $2200. Even if I am taxed at a 35% rate I would have had a gain of $7200.

I don't know, but if it were up to me I wouldn't be championing diversification and tax efficiency in this case.


...and if you had bought both two years ago? Therein lies the rub.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby ProfessorX » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:48 pm

This is like eminent domain for companies.
You can buy stock,
but it is only truly yours as long the majority of shareholders and the private equity overlords agree with you.
Being forced to sell is similar to not really owning in the first place.
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Re: If Dell goes private what happens to stock held by inves

Postby bucksfan2 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:18 pm

jjbiv wrote:
bucksfan2 wrote:
bertilak wrote:If X% of your wealth is in a company that gets bought out you could have a BIG cap gains.
If X% of your wealth is in TSM then the whole TSM would have to get bought out to get the same (approx) tax hit. This is not likely, to say the least.

The risk is massively diluted in TSM. Once more diversification comes to the rescue!


Lets assume I owned $10,000 worth of Dell stock. Using a one year parameter you would have seen an 110% gain.
Lets assume I owned $10,000 worth of Vanguard Total World (VT). Using a one year parameter I would have seen a gain of around 22%.

Owning DELL I would have gained over $11,100 while owning VT I would have gained around $2200. Even if I am taxed at a 35% rate I would have had a gain of $7200.

I don't know, but if it were up to me I wouldn't be championing diversification and tax efficiency in this case.


...and if you had bought both two years ago? Therein lies the rub.


What rub? The original post was talking about tax efficiency and diversification. I read the post I quoted as if the poster was saying "I am glad I own the TSM instead of Dell because I would have a big capital gains hit." To me that's like saying "man I am glad I don't make as much money as my boss, look at all the taxes he pays."

There is a rub to pretty much everything when it comes in investing.
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