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(Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press)

Financial Times

Dell activists should be careful what they agitate for

Lex is a premium daily commentary service from the Financial Times. It helps readers make better investment decisions by highlighting key emerging risks and opportunities.

Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management think that Dell shares are worth $23 (U.S.), and that founder Michael Dell’s proposed buyout, at $13.65, is grossly unfair. There is an easy way for Mr. Dell to silence the activists: take them at their word. He should simply offer to sell them his 276 million shares at $18 apiece. That is a 20-per-cent discount to the agitators’ value, leaving them lots of upside, by their own reckoning.