Diebold, notorious voting firm, rejects $2.6 billion takeover

The company says that it's worth way, way more.


Farhad Manjoo
March 4, 2008 1:12AM (UTC)

On Sunday, the conglomerate United Technologies announced that it would make a $2.6 billion offer for Diebold, the beleaguered maker of ATM machines, corporate security systems, and, most notoriously, easily-hackable, poorly protected, and inherently risky touch-screen electronic voting machines.

Advertisement:

The news surprised the market -- Diebold's shares closed Friday at $24.12, substantially below UT's offer of $40 per share -- and Diebold's stock surged today.

But Diebold quickly rejected UT's offer. Diebold, said John Lauer, the company's chairman, is worth a great deal more than $40 a share.

Observers of the voting industry would differ on that score. Indeed, to those who know Diebold's record as a voting company, its rejection of $40 a share seems an act of delusional self-confidence.

It's true that voting is something of a sideline for Diebold. But as I wrote last summer -- when the company removed the Diebold name from its election subsidiary -- Diebold pursued failure in the voting business with determined flourish, "letting its code and internal communication leak out onto the Web; employing as a chief executive a man who declared he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year"; abusing copyright law in an attempt to quell its critics; and, among many other caught-red-handed indiscretions, deleting criticism of itself from Wikipedia."

And that's not even considering the SEC's investigation into accounting irregularities at the firm.

Seriously, they want more than $2.6 billion for that company? Diebold should take the money and run -- probably most folks wouldn't offer $40 for the whole company, let alone for each measly share!

Advertisement:

[Flickr photo by joebeone.]


Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

MORE FROM Farhad Manjoo



BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •