Private planes, fancy cars, summer homes, the ever embattled leader of the biggest private tech company leads an epic life.
Michael Dell is once again making headlines as he tries to take his company public again in an unusual and controversial way.
Instead of an IPO, Dell wants to buy the "tracking stock" of VMware for a combo of cash and Dell's stock. The tracking stock was created when Dell bought VMware's majority stakeholder EMC as part of that mega $67 billion deal. VMware is publicly traded and the tracking stock gave EMC investors extra value for their portion of VMware's equity, to encourage them to approve Dell's offer for EMC, which they did.
The tracking stock is also publicly traded, separate from VMware's common stock. Buying the tracking stock with Dell's stock means Dell would instantly become into a public company again, without a traditional IPO.
But this deal initially earned the scorn of multiple hedge fund managers, who say Dell's offer for the tracking stock is too low.Dell has bowed to the pressure and offered investors more money ... a lot more money.
This deal has put Michael Dell back in the bullseye of his old nemesis Carl Icahn, who bought an 8% stake of the tracking stock and had threatened to sue if the offer isn't either dropped or raised. He wanted Dell to triple the offer, though Dell isn't raising his offer that by that much.
With an estimated net worth of $27.5 billion, Dell is one of the wealthiest people in the world. From his early career as one of the youngest CEOs of a Fortune 500 company until today, Dell is used to getting his way.
He was only 23 when his company had its IPO in 1988, and soon he was a billionaire.
Dell lives the extravagant life of a successful businessman as well, complete with all of the private planes, summer homes, and sweet rides you'd expect from a billionaire.
Michael Dell was born on Feb. 23, 1965, in Houston, Texas. He was fascinated with gadgets from a young age — when he was 15, he bought one of the first Apple computers and disassembled it to see if he could put it back together.
Source: Academy of Achievement
When he was in high school, he got a job selling newspaper subscriptions. After figuring out how to target an untapped customer base, he made $18,000 in just one year.
Source: Academy of Achievement
Though he was really only interested in computers, Dell entered the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med student in 1983. He spent his spare time upgrading PCs and selling them from his dorm room, making $180,000 in his first month of business. Though he never came back for his sophomore year of classes, he returned to his dorm for a photo opp in 1999.
Last year, Dell tweeted out his first financial statement from his dorm PC company that he used to convince his parents he didn't have to go back to college. He sold nearly $1 million worth of computers and, after paying salaries and expenses, made over $198,000 in gross profit.
He officially launched his company in 1984, under the name PC's Limited. It soon became one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, raking in more than $6 million in sales in its first year of business.
He changed the company's name to Dell Computer Corp. in 1987, and sales continued to soar. It went public in 1988, raising $30 million in its initial public offering. Dell made about $18 million off of the deal, and by 1992, the 27-year-old CEO was the youngest man to ever lead a Fortune 500 company.
In 1988, he went on a blind date with Susan Lieberman, a young fashion designer from Dallas. The two had an instant connection. "Most men I dated talked about themselves a lot and tried to impress me," Susan told Texas Monthly. "He was the nicest guy I'd ever met." They were married in October 1989 and together they have four kids.
Source: Texas Monthly
His son, Zack Dell, started following in his dad's footsteps. In 2014, at age 17, Zach cofounded his own dating startup Thread. Thread later became a photo-sharing app and is no longer around.
The family's 33,000-square-foot home outside of Austin is known by locals as "the Castle" because of its hilltop perch and heavy security presence. The house boasts eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a tennis court, indoor and outdoor pools, and gorgeous views of Lake Austin.
Source: The Independent
Dell also owns a 6,380-square-foot contemporary ranch house in the nearby hills, where the family keeps Arabian horses. Dell's 6D Ranch has been controversial, as some have said that he unfairly qualified for a $1 million agricultural tax break because his family and friends sometimes use the land to hunt deer.
In 2014, he set a record by paying over $100 million for a penthouse on New York’s Billionaire’s Row. In 2017, he bought a Four Seasons penthouse in Boston, where EMC is based, for $40 million.
In 2014, Mr. Dell, 53, spent $100.47 million on a penthouse on New York’s Billionaire’s Row, setting a record for the city’s priciest home purchase, people familiar with the transaction said. Last year, he snapped up a penthouse seeking $40 million at the Four Seasons Private Residences One Dalton Street in Boston.
Dell also reportedly owns a four-story neoclassical home on the exclusive Caribbean island of Anguilla.
Source: Mother Jones
But the family spends many of their holidays at the "Raptor Residence," a seven-bedroom, 18,500-square-foot compound on 4.3 acres of oceanfront tropical paradise in the gated community of Kukio, Hawaii. The home was estimated to be worth a staggering $73 million.
Dell started MSD Capital in 1998 to manage his family's wealth. The firm has made investments in a number of companies, including IHOP and Applebee's parent company, apparel company Phillips-Van Heusen, offshore oil drilling company Independence Contract Drilling, even startups, like HR software company Gusto.
MSD also invests in all sorts of other things. For instance, in 2010, the firm purchased 185,000 vintage photos, one of the most important photography archives of the 20th century, previously owned by the Magnum photo cooperative. The collection was reportedly worth $100 million and it was one of the largest photography transactions in history.
Through MSD Capital, Michael Dell also owns a wide variety of real estate in Hawaii, Mexico, and California. The company invests in luxury hotels, commercial and multifamily properties, and land development, and it participates in other real-estate-development funds.
... a Porsche Carrera GT ...
... and a Hummer H2.
When Hurricane Harvey devastated his home town of Houston in 2017, the couple raised a $100 million fund from 33,000 donors, to pay for rebuilding projects. In its first year, it has distributed half of the money to 156 projects.
Dell is friends with other tech billionaires. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is a particular buddy. The two of them did a public Fitbit walking challenge in 2014 and Benioff's team won. But Dell is so competitive (and also a fitness fanatic), that Benioff jokingly suspected that Dell put his Fitbit on his dog to help him score more steps.
In 2013, the legendary Texan won a long, often ugly battle to take Dell private, fighting off legendary activist investor Carl Icahn, who wanted to stop the deal, replace the board and fire Dell.
Source: Business Insider
Two years after winning that battle, Dell announced plans to buy EMC for $67 billion, the largest tech acquisition ever. This is EMC CEO Joe Tucci shaking hands with Dell.
But Dell didn't lose. Instead he catapulted his company into a much bigger one with the purchase of EMC. He is now the leader of the largest private company in the tech industry.
Dell Technologies earned nearly $80 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year and employs about 145,000 people
Source: Dell Technologies