Michael Dell stepped down as CEO in 2004, staying on as chairman. But the Round Rock, Texas, company faltered under CEO Kevin Rollins and saw its first-ever profit decline. Customers complained of poor service, and sales slowed as Dell faced a market glut of cheap PCs from other makers. The company lost its No. 1 position to HP 2006 and never regained its standing.
Michael Dell returned as CEO in 2007 and began carrying out a turnaround plan, dubbed "Dell 2.0," that included improving customer service, thinning the managerial ranks and expanding into new businesses.
Moorhead said it will probably take Michael Dell at least another three to five years to transform his company. That's a timeframe that probably would have caused Wall Street to grow even more frustrated with Dell Inc.
"If what you are trying to do is not being valued by your investors, you need to go somewhere else," Moorhead said. "They weren't getting any respect on Wall Street, so this is the best move they could make right now."
Under the leveraged buyout announced Tuesday, Dell stockholders will get $13.65 per share. That's well above the stock price of $10.88 before word of the talks emerged three weeks ago. But it's a steep markdown from $24 a share six years ago.
Michael Dell, the company's biggest shareholder, is contributing his 14 percent stake and an undisclosed piece of his $16 billion fortune to help finance the sale. The deal is expected to go through by the end of July, after which Dell will stop trading on the Nasdaq.
AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this story from San Francisco.