SAN FRANCISCO — A shareholder rebellion against Dell’s proposed $24.4 billion sale to its founder and other investors is gaining more support, fueling a belief that the struggling personal computer maker will have to wrangle a higher price to get the deal done.
Mutual fund firm T. Rowe Price joined the opposition Tuesday. T. Rowe Price and another shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, believe that founder and CEO Michael Dell and the investment firm Silver Lake are being allowed to seize control and end Dell Inc.’s 25-year history as a publicly held company for too little money.
“We believe the proposed buyout does not reflect the value of Dell, and we do not intend to support the offer as put forward,” T. Rowe Price Chairman Brian Rogers said in a statement.
T. Rowe Price and Southeastern are the two largest independent shareholders and own nearly 13 percent of the company combined. Michael Dell has committed his 14 percent stake toward the deal, but he is the only investor to own more stock than either of the two.
Although Dell remains one of the world’s largest technology companies, with about $57 billion in annual revenue, it has become less attractive to investors as smartphones and tablet computers siphon sales away from PCs. To make matters worse, Dell has been losing market share to its rivals. The company once was the world’s largest PC maker, but now ranks third behind Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo Group.