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Oakmark says sold Dell shares, following Blackstone lead

A Dell laptop computer is pictured in New York in this August 26, 2008 file photograph. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files
A Dell laptop computer is pictured in New York in this August 26, 2008 file photograph. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

(Reuters) - A top Oakmark Funds portfolio manager said Wednesday that several of the funds sold their shares in Dell Inc after private equity firm Blackstone Group LP ended its pursuit of the computer maker.

Blackstone's decision eased the way for plans by company founder Michael Dell to take the company private.

In a note on Oakmark's website, portfolio manager William Nygren wrote that Blackstone's decision "changed our thesis for owning Dell" because during the bid process Blackstone would have had access to nonpublic information.

"Since they had information we didn't, we believed it was prudent to assume they might be right" about Dell's value, Nygren wrote. Oakmark will put the proceeds of its share sales "into other stocks that we are confident are undervalued," he wrote.

Nygren is portfolio manager of three funds that were listed as holding Dell shares including Oakmark Fund, Oakmark Select Fund and Oakmark Global Select Fund . Harris Associates LP of Chicago is the investment adviser to The Oakmark Funds.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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