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Dell takeover bid pushes for rule change to secure $25bn buyout

Michael Dell and Silver Lake have increased their buyout offer for Dell to $24.6 billion (£16.75 billion), with the condition of a change in shareholder voting rules, in an attempt to win the ongoing battle for control of the company.

They are pushing to have the rules changed so that shareholder abstentions will not be counted as votes against their proposed takeover. The vote deadline has been postponed a number of times, including twice today to push it back to 2 August.

A special committee will need to approve the change in voting rules for Mr Dell's proposal to go ahead. In return, he has offered to up his offer by $0.10 (7p) a share to $13.75 (£9).

Mr Dell, who is CEO of the company and Silver Lake need the rule change to clinch the buyout as in the ongoing vote, around 18 per cent of shares did not have a vote attached to them as of two days ago. Under the current rules, these non-responses will count as no votes.

One analyst believes that the small 10 cent per share rise in the offer, despite adding $2 million (£1.3 million) to the overall amount, will actually have a negative effect in encouraging shareholders to support the takeover.

"A dime won't even get you a phone call," Jim Kelleher, an analyst at Argus Research, told Bloomberg. "There is a risk that the institutional investors, who were on the fence at $13.65, will not be neutral, but insulted by $13.75 and will swing to team Icahn."

Billionaire mogul Michael Icahn and partner Southeastern Asset Management, who together own 12 per cent of the computer maker, have aggressively opposed Mr Dell's takeover and have tabled a series of alternative suggestions and buyout offers.

Icahn has called on Mr Dell to leave the company, telling Bloomberg television: "They should have held him accountable years ago. They have had a very poor performance. Instead of saying that you are out of here, they are going to reward him and give him this great bargain."

Mr Dell wants to take the publicly listed company he founded private in order to transform the business without the pressure of shareholder scrutiny.

Mr Dell needs a majority of shareholders, excluding his 15.6 per cent stake, to approve the Silver Lake backed buyout in order to be successful.