'We accidentally hit wrong button on Dell buyout – here's $194m for the cockup'

T Rowe Price voted 'yes' when it meant to vote 'no'

Some former Dell shareholders can thank a voting mishap for an upcoming windfall.

Investment house T Rowe Price says it will refund its clients $194m in value lost when it mistakenly supported Dell's 2013 private buyout at a deflated price.

According to the finance company, a "voting error" led it to sign off on the proposed deal with the 31 million Dell shares it controlled on behalf of its investors. In reality, T Rowe Price says, it meant to vote "no" in the 2013 meeting.

"Due to a proxy voting error though, voting instructions for our clients' shares were ultimately submitted as 'For' the merger, rather than 'Against'," T Rowe Price said in a statement.

This after a Delaware court ruled last week that the original buyout price of $13.75 was too low and that some investors, including the T Rowe Price shareholders whose votes were changed by the mix-up, should be compensated $17.62 per share for their Dell stakes.

The investment house has been among the group of investors who have for years been challenging Dell in court over claims the company's stock was undervalued at the time of the private buyout.

"Since this situation began, our focus has been on securing fair value from the Dell buyout for our clients," T Rowe Price CEO William Stromberg said.

"By compensating our clients based on the court's May 31, 2016, ruling, clients will come out ahead as compared with how they would have fared had they taken the merger consideration."

Dell, meanwhile, is already looking forward to its next major deal. Next month, EMC shareholders are scheduled to meet and cast their votes on whether to approve a $67bn Dell buyout offer. ®

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