Dell Inc. is no longer a Fortune 500 company, despite ranking #51 last year and #44 in 2012. In fact, it has been in the mix for well over a decade before this year’s fall from rankings grace.
So, what happened?
Dell was taken private last October by company founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake in a contentious $25 billion transaction. Often such private companies still can qualify for the Fortune 500 — which largely relies on annual revenue data — because their debt is publicly-traded and, as such, the companies release financial performance.
But as we reported last month, Dell structured its bonds by using something called Rule 144a for-life, a technique that is growing in popularity among private equity-backed companies(despite creating some short-term liquidity constraints for bondholders). In terms of the Fortune 500, this means that Dell needn’t publicly-disclose its financials. Instead, bondholders, prospective bondholders and certain analysts are provided quarterly data via conference calls and an online data room, but only on a confidential basis.
Fortune did reach out to Dell when putting together the Fortune 500, but was rebuffed.
Dell has enough debt that some of its financials likely will leak at some point, but it hasn’t happened yet. And, without official figures, it’s out.