Inside Dell’s Leveraged Buy Out
Challenge: After 5 years of slow progress against its transformation, Dell announced its intention to take the company private. The goal was to help Dell gain the flexibility needed to accelerate the company’s strategy. For 8 months following, Dell was advised to not comment on the deal even though it had become one of the most talked-about business stories in the world. The story had many twists and turns, including activist investor Carl Icahn and his negative attacks on Michael Dell. Additionally, Dell competitor HP publically criticized Dell’s strategy, telling customers to be wary.
Insights: Without the ability to directly address anything pertaining to the deal the team saw an immediate need to re-assure Dell’s global work-force, customers and partners that Dell’s strategy was sound.
Solutions: The communications approach centered on maintaining a steady flow of communications to team members and customers that reiterated Dell’s strategy as an end-to-end solutions provider, and commitment to customers, and reassured them that Dell’s best days were ahead.
- 71 customer win/ case study announcements showcasing Dell’s customer centric approach and leading end-to-end solutions.
- Team member communications:
- Executive road show to give perspective on process and answer questions
- Global Customer Experience focus groups
- Microsite showcasing individual team members and their impact on Dell’s success
- Messaging resources for the sales team to gain and retain customers
- Global town halls celebrating close of LBO
- CEO communications outlining the company strategy
- External CEO communications: Post deal close, the team selected journalists that were rooting for Dell, provided ample pre-briefings and focused communications on Dell’s entrepreneurial spirit, focus on the customer and goal to become a leading end-to-end IT solutions provider.
- Customer retention: Dell maintained all of its customers throughout the LBO process.
- Positive team member perceptions: Based on team member survey following the LBO close
- 93% of team members understood what a positive vote meant for Dell and next steps;
- 92% were excited about Dell’s next chapter as a private company;
- 96% were inspired to do their best work in service of customers;
- Shifted media perception: Media perceptions of Dell shifted from a negative-neutral take on the deal transaction and issues management to positive on excitement of a new Dell and prospects.
- Media coverage Summary: The Sept. 12 Vote Day generated more than 36 tier-one articles, with a total reach of 300 million globally and Twitter reach of more than 69 million. Following Vote Day, there were more than 10 articles featuring one-on-one interviews with Michael Dell, including an incredibly positive cover story, “Dell Can’t Fail” in Forbes Magazine (4.8+ million reach), on-air appearances on CNBC, CNN, Charlie Rose and CBS This Morning.