It's official: Dell's board has unanimously recommended that the company accept CEO and founder Michael Dell's $24.4 billion offer to take the company private, says Tom Murphy of the Associated Press.

The deal, which would pay $13.65 per share, is about 37 percent over the stock's average closing price. In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dell directors backed the plan. And in an open letter to shareholders, a board special committee praised Michael Dell's plan, saying it offered "a very material premium."

The news will be a blow to billionaire investor Carl Icahn, Dell's largest independent shareholder, who, along with Southeastern Asset Management Inc., owns almost 13 percent of Dell's shares.

Icahn has hoped to thwart Michael Dell's plan and offered to "pay investors $12 a share in cash or stock while letting them retain stakes in a public company," says Aaron Ricadela at Bloomberg. Under Icahn's plan, he would replace Michael Dell as the company's chief executive.

Analysts said Icahn is expected to campaign with shareholders to reject the CEO's offer, although the company has asked shareholders to approve Michael Dell's bid in a showdown vote scheduled for July 18.