Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Oracle’s Mark Hurd Still Has “No Interest” in Being CEO of Dell

Activist investor Carl Icahn and his allies at Southeastern Asset Management have, according to a Reuters report, assembled a short list of people they’d like to see running Dell in the event they get control of the struggling computer maker.

But it looks like they’re going to have to cross at least one name off that list. Sources familiar with his thinking say Oracle president and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd continues to have “no interest” in running Dell.

Hurd’s name appeared on a list shared with Reuters that included Todd Bradley, executive VP at HP and head of its PC and printing business unit; Michael Capellas, the Cisco Systems director who was the last CEO of Compaq Computer until shortly after it was acquired by HP in 2002; and Mike Daniels, the recently retired head of services at IBM.

Icahn has made no secret of the fact that were he to gain control of Dell, the computer company, that his preference would be to fire Dell, the man. Icahn said so very publicly in a televised rant on CNBC last month.

Icahn holds about four percent and change of Dell shares while Southeastern, the company’s largest outside shareholder, has a little more than eight percent. Together they’ve cobbled together a proposal to take control of Dell, leave part of it publicly traded, and use existing cash and new debt to pay existing shareholders a special dividend of $12 a share. The board committee running Dell’s go-private process slammed that proposal last week, saying it suffers from a “liquidity gap” amounting to about $4 billion.

This would be the second time that Hurd was mentioned as the preferred candidate of a potential Dell suitor. In March, when the private equity firm Blackstone was kicking the tires, the firm leaked indicated its interest in Hurd on a day that Oracle reported quarterly earnings. Hurd was silent on Blackstone’s interest until asked directly about it after a speech before customers in Japan. Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger was quick to tweet his answer that day.

Mark Hurd in Japan goes on the record on #Dell: “I’m very happy at Oracle. No interest.” #oracle
deborah hellinger

Don’t expect a similar tweet this time around. However, the thought occurs: It would be the perfect use of Hurd’s new and as-yet-unused Twitter account, which appeared last month.

A point of clarification and credit: Blackstone’s interest in Hurd was originally reported by Fortune’s Dan Primack.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google