Shareholders vote on $24.4 BDell buyout

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File Dell CEO Michael Dell smiles at Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco.

DALLAS — Dell Inc. is making a late push to win shareholder support for founder Michael Dell’s plan to take the slumping computer maker private, an indication that Thursday’s scheduled vote could be close.

Supporters of the $24.4 billion buyout offer believe Dell Inc. stands a better chance of turning around if it can make long-term strategic decisions without worrying about meeting Wall Street’s quarter-to-quarter expectations. But some big investors have already signaled opposition to the bid. Activist investor Carl Icahn believes the offer undervalues the company.

The company’s decision to go private is a reflection of the tough times facing the personal computer industry as people delay replacing traditional computers and spend their money instead on the latest smartphones and tablets. PC sales have been falling, and tablets are expected to outsell laptops this year.