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The rich, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: “are different from you and me.” But had F. Scott known Michael Dell, he would’ve added this corollary: The superrich are different from the merely rich.
Dell, the computer magnate is a preening peer of the multibillonous corporate class. Thus, if any of our society’s rules get in his way, he just changes them – Hey, he says, I’m superrich, I make my own rules. And that’s what he’s doing now in a power play against his own corporate shareholders.
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Earlier this year, he made a low-ball bid to buy them out, fully expecting them to say, “Yes sir.” But, as the July 18 date approached for shareholders to cast their ballots and rubber stamp Dell’s bad deal – uh-oh, most were voting against him! So Mr. Superrich simply had his board delay the vote to July 24 so he could wrangle some of those ornery owners of his company to his side.
But, oops, he was still losing when the 24th arrived. So, he imperiously ordered election day moved again. One major stockowner decried the tyranny, exclaiming that, “This is not a banana republic.”
Oh? Not only did El Jefe move the vote to September, but he actually directed the board to change the rules of voting to assure that, this time, he would win. Previously, shareholders who did not cast a ballot were considered to be against the deal. Now, their shares won’t count at all. More significantly, the voter pool was expanded in Dell’s favor by allowing speculators who bought shares as late as August 13 to cast ballots.
The upshot is that King Michael will grab the multibillion-dollar corporation by imperial decrees that will stiff common shareholders, who will lose millions of dollars. And that’s how the rich get richer at the expense of the rest of us. It’s easy when you make up the rules as you go along.
“Dell committee backs new offer, rules change,” Austin American Statesman, August 3, 2013.
“Judge delays hearing on Icahan’s Dell Suit,” Austin American Statesman, August 13, 2013.
“Michael Dell Salvages Bid for His Company,” www.nytimes.com, August 2, 2013.
“Michael Dell accuses Icahn of using court as takeover tool,” www.theregister.co.uk, August 8, 2013.
“Icahan says Dell vote sholdn’t be postponed again,” www.marketwatch.com, July 23, 2013.
“Icahan Adds to Claims Against Dell Over Buyout Vote Timing,” www.nasdaq.com, August 13, 2013.
“Quotation by F. Scott Fitzgerald,” www.dictionary.com, 2013.