Billionaire investor Carl Icahn's bid to speed up proceedings in a lawsuit against computer maker Dell Inc. was rejected by a judge in Delaware.
Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine Jr. on Friday denied the request by Mr. Icahn, who is trying to thwart a buyout by founder Michael Dell, at a hearing in Wilmington. Dell shareholders of record Aug. 13 are scheduled to vote on the $24.9 billion buyout at a special meeting Sept. 12 and to choose directors at an annual meeting Oct. 17.
Mr. Strine agreed with lawyers for the company who contended Mr. Icahn's affiliates have had ample time to evaluate the fairness of the buyout and could have made a bid and haven't.
“This court is not going to be dragged into a tactical game” over the contention between Messrs. Icahn and Dell, Mr. Strine said.
Mr. Dell and Silver Lake Management had offered $13.65 a share for the PC maker, then sweetened the bid, agreeing to pay $13.75 a share and a special dividend of 13 cents a share, on top of a regular 8-cents-a-share dividend — bringing the total investors would get in the going-private transaction to $13.96 a share.
Mr. Icahn opposes the deal in favor of a recapitalization plan that would keep the stock in public hands. He sued the board Aug. 1 for violating duties under Delaware corporate law, failing to get the best deal, and wrongly separating the special shareholders' meeting and the annual meeting — allegedly tilting the odds towards the company.
Mr. Dell holds more than 15% of company common shares, and Mr. Icahn holds about 9%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Mr. Icahn, whose Icahn Enterprises is based in New York, was denied his request to accelerate claims that board members violated their duties to shareholders in separating the deal-vote date and the annual meeting date.
The Dell board “acted in good faith,” Mr. Strine said.
Shareholders have already sued Dell officials in federal court in Houston, and at least 20 other Delaware Chancery suits are pending.