How Michael Dell Shortchanged Shareholders While Doing Nothing Wrong

On Monday, when a Delaware court ruled that Dell Computer’s then-CEO Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners underpaid shareholders by about $6 billion, or 22%, when they took computer giant Dell Inc. private in 2013, many readers were left scratching their heads. Those of a pro-shareholder bent asked: Who were the dastardly board members and financial advisors who went along with this highway robbery? Others, adopting the dealmakers’ perspective, wondered: Who exactly was the mystery buyer champing at the bit to pay $31 billion for Dell in 2013, when the market for Windows PCs was in free fall, when tablets and smartphones were on the march, and when enterprises were moving toward cloud services, building their own servers, or buying them from cut-rate Taiwanese and Chinese outfits?

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