NEW YORK - Dell postponed a vote Thursday on a $24.4 billion go-private buyout plan amid opposition by major shareholders, creating new uncertainty for the former No. 1 computer maker.

A Dell (IW 500/24) statement said the shareholder meeting on the plan, which opened briefly in Texas, was delayed until July 24.

"Today's special meeting of stockholders was convened and adjourned to provide additional time to solicit proxies from Dell stockholders," the statement said. "No vote was taken on the proposed transaction prior to the adjournment."

The plan announced in February aimed to give company founder Michael Dell a chance to revive the fortunes of the Texas-based tech firm without the pressures of a publicly traded firm.

But opponents, galvanized by corporate raider Carl Icahn, have claimed the buyout at $13.65 a share undervalues the company.

"The reason it was postponed was they didn't have the votes," said technology analyst Rob Enderle. "That may motivate them to sweeten the deal, but it doesn't give people a lot of time to look at a new proposal."

Enderle said that the opposition shareholders are taking a risk, because "if the deal fails, the stock will come down sharply, to around $8."

High-Stakes Poker Game

N. Venkatraman, professor of marketing at Boston University, said that "right now it's a high-stakes game of poker," and that the value to Dell could erode without the go-private plan.

"I think the most likely outcome is that both sides come up with a new price," he said, but added that "it is clearly dangerous" for investors to hold back, "because it's not clear if these investors have an alternate plan to run the company without Michael Dell."