Thirty years after its initial public offering and five years after going private, Dell Technologies is once again a publicly listed company. Instead of an IPO, the computer and storage company returned to the public markets through a $24 billion cash-and-equity reverse merger in which it bought out the shareholders of a stock previously established to track Dell’s interest in VMware. That maneuver allowed Michael Dell, the company’s founder and CEO, and Silver Lake, the private equity firm that took the company private with Mr. Dell, to avoid the added scrutiny that an IPO would have entailed.
While the re-listing process has still been controversial with investors, as the Financial Times reported earlier this month, it appears that Mr. Dell’s decision to take the company private has paid off. He wanted space to transform the company, which he did with the $67 billion acquisition of storage maker EMC in 2016, a deal that also gave it a controlling stake in the software maker VMware. Other legacy tech companies aiming to reshape themselves for the future could look at Dell’s experience and follow suit.