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No Higher Dell Deal Coming, Say Options Traders

Alex Rosenberg, CNBC Producer
Monday, 25 Mar 2013 | 11:35 AM ET
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Who's getting Dell?

In early January, most investors thought of Dell as a troubled company in a dying industry. That was before the company's founder and CEO, Michael Dell, paired with private equity firm Silver Lake Management to offer $13.65 per share for the company.

Now Michael Dell has some competition.

On Friday, Dell also received buyout offers from the Blackstone Group and from Carl Icahn. Blackstone has offered to shell out more than $14.25 per share, while Icahn is offering to buy out 58 percent of Dell's shares for $15 each.

(Read More: Dell Confirms Offers From Blackstone, Icahn)

Dell's board is currently assessing both offers, and will announce whether either Blackstone's or Icahn's bids represents a "superior proposal."

However, it could prove hard for Dell to decide otherwise. Richard Pzena, whose Pzena Investment Management is a major investor in Dell, told CNBC's Scott Wapner, "It's inconceivable that the Special Committee won't view either of these as superior."

Dell to Negotiate With Blackstone & Carl Icahn
Another proposal could be in the works that may result in a "superior proposal" for Dell, report CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin.

If they do, Michael Dell could up his offer. Some think a new offer could top the $15 mark.

(Read More: Blackstone Asks Oracle's Hurd If He Wants to Run Dell)

Without predicting that price outright, Morningstar Equity Analyst Carr Lanphier said, "Michael Dell has a fairly extensive fortune at his disposal. If he really wants to take over this company, he'll probably come out with a higher offer."

But the options market isn't buying it.

Two biggest trades of the morning saw people selling calls, Brian Stutland of Stutland Volatility Group pointed out, meaning that traders "don't think the bids by Icahn and Blackstone will push the stock any higher than where it is trading now."

If the options market has it right, Stutland said, "$15 is the top end of where this merry-go-round stops."

(Read More: Icahn in Confidentiality Pact With Dell)

—By CNBC's Alex Rosenberg

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