martedì 5 febbraio 2013

Dell in $24 Billion Deal to Go Private

Dell announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to go private in a $24.4 billion deal led by its founder and the investment firm Silver Lake, in the biggest leveraged buyout since the financial crisis.
Under the terms of the deal, the buyers’ consortium, which also includes Microsoft, will pay $13.65 a share in cash. That is roughly 25 percent above where Dell’s stock traded before word emerged of the negotiations of its sale.
Michael S. Dell will contribute his stake of roughly 14 percent toward the transaction, and will contribute additional cash through his private investment firm, MSD Capital. Silver Lake is expected to contribute about $1 billion in cash, while Microsoft will loan an additional $2 billion.
Dell’s board is said to have met on Monday night to vote on the deal. In its statement, the company said Mr. Dell recused himself from any discussions about a transaction and did not vote.

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As a newly private company – now more firmly under the control of Mr. Dell – the computer maker will seek to revive itself after years of decline. The takeover represents Mr. Dell’s most drastic effort yet to turn around the company he founded in a college dormitory room in 1984 and expanded into one of the world’s biggest sellers of personal computers.
But the advent of new competition, first from other PC manufacturers and then smartphones and the iPad, severely eroded Dell’s business. Such is the concern about the company’s future that Microsoft agreed to lend some of its considerable financial muscle to shore up one of its most important business partners.
“I believe this transaction will open an exciting new chapter for Dell, our customers and team members,” Mr. Dell said in a statement. “Dell has made solid progress executing this strategy over the past four years, but we recognize that it will still take more time, investment and patience, and I believe our efforts will be better supported by partnering with Silver Lake in our shared vision.”
Still, analysts have expressed concern that even a move away from the unyielding scrutiny of the public markets will not let Mr. Dell accomplish what years of previous turnaround efforts have failed to achieve.
Nevertheless, the transaction represents a watershed moment for the private equity industry, reaching heights unseen over the past five years. It is the biggest leveraged buyout since the Blackstone Group‘s $26 billion takeover of Hilton Hotels in the summer of 2007, and it is supported by more than $15 billion of debt financing raised by no fewer than four banks.
“Michael Dell is a true visionary and one of the pre-eminent leaders of the global technology industry,” Egon Durban, a managing partner at Silver Lake, said in a statement. “Silver Lake is looking forward to partnering with him, the talented management team at Dell and the investor group to innovate, invest in long-term growth initiatives and accelerate the company’s transformation strategy to become an integrated and diversified global I.T. solutions provider.”
Mr. Dell first approached the board about taking the company private in August. That prompted the board to form a special committee, with JPMorgan Chase and the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton as advisers. It was charged with considering alternatives to a management buyout, including other deals or borrowing money to pay out a special dividend.
To help ward off accusations of self-dealing by Mr. Dell, the special committee has hired an independent investment bank, Evercore Partners, specifically to oversee a 45-day “go shop” period in which the company will solicit other potential buyers.
“The special committee and its advisers conducted a disciplined and independent process intended to ensure the best outcome for shareholders,” Alex J. Mandl, the head of the Dell independent committee, said in a statement. “Importantly, the go-shop process provides a real opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present offer from Mr. Dell and Silver Lake.”
But beating Mr. Dell comes at a price. Would-be rivals that successfully make an acceptable bid within the go-shop period must pay a $180 million termination fee. If such an offer comes after the 45-day window, that payout grows to $450 million.
The decision to take Dell private puts the company more firmly under the control of Michael S. Dell.
Dell itself was advised by Goldman Sachs and the law firm Hogan Lovells, while Mr. Dell retained Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as legal counsel. Silver Lake was advised by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Credit Suisse, RBC Capital Markets and the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Football: France's Ribery eager to face Bayern team-mates

France winger Franck Ribery has said he is looking forward to Wednesday's friendly international against Germany, which will pit him against his Bayern Munich team-mates in the German side.
Ribery is set to start on the left wing, meaning he is likely to be in direct opposition to his club colleagues Thomas Mueller and Bayern captain Philipp Lahm in the friendly at the Stade de France.
"It'll be a tremendous duel with the pair of them," the 29-year-old, who joined Bayern in 2007, told
"We'll set aside our friendship for the 90 minutes.
"I'm very familiar with how they play, but they know all about my game.
"And that also goes for all six Bayern players likely to represent Germany in Paris on Wednesday."
Germany are looking for revenge over the French after Olivier Giroud and Florent Malouda scored in a 2-1 victory for Les Bleus in Bremen last February, when Ribery played the first half.
While Ribery has admitted he has a soft spot for Germany, that will be the last thing on his mind come Wednesday.
"I'm still French and France is my home, but obviously I've developed different feelings for Germany compared to any other country in the world," he said.
"I can speak German nowadays and understand the mentality.
"I'm delighted when Germany win games - but not on Wednesday."
In Tuesday's press conference in Paris, Germany coach Joachim Loew confirmed Lahm will start at right-back -- setting up a mouth-watering clash against Ribery -- with Bayern's Jerome Boateng likely to be on the left.
"I plan to have Philipp on the right, which will be a permanent solution," said Loew, who has toyed with playing Lahm at left-back.
"This is where he has played most over the years.
"I know that he can play on both sides, but we will find another solution."
With another Bayern player, Holger Badstuber, currently injured, Arsenal's Per Mertesacker is likely to partner Mats Hummels at centre-back.
Ribery's Bayern team-mate, striker Mario Gomez, is set to start up front and first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will start on the bench with Hamburg's Rene Adler winning his first cap for more than two years.
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski, who used to play with Ribery at Bayern, is likely to make his 107th appearance and come in as cover for Dortmund's injured Marco Reus, which pleases the Frenchman.
"We text from time to time. I like him, he's funny," said Ribery about Podolski.
"I'm delighted it's going well for him at Arsenal."

lunedì 4 febbraio 2013

Man Utd to play Hong Kong match in summer

United will take on Kitchee FC at the Hong Kong Stadium on 29 July as part of their summer tour

Manchester United will travel to Hong Kong for the first time since 2005 as part of their summer tour this year.
The leaders of the Barclays Premier League will take on local side Kitchee FC on 29 July at the Hong Kong Stadium with tickets on sale from 20 February.
The match takes place just after Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and South China take part in the Barclays Asia Trophy there between 24-27 July.
"The club has tremendous support throughout China and especially in Hong Kong," said Manchester United chief executive David Gill.

"We have visited on a number of occasions and after an eight-year gap it's a pleasure for the team to be able to return to Hong Kong again this year. We are looking forward to engaging with our loyal fans, our commercial partners and most importantly preparing for the season ahead."
United have already announced a tour match against the Australian A-League All Stars in Sydney on 20 July, and will be revealing two more tour dates on Tuesday and Thursday this week. For more information, click here. For more information on the Manchester United tour, click here.
"The match between Kitchee and Manchester United will also be the thrilling conclusion of a week of English Premier League football in Hong Kong this summer," said Kitchee Foundation chairman Ken K. Ng. "We are looking forward to bringing to the Hong Kong public one of the most exciting international exhibition matches ever."
Stay with, where all news of pre-season tours will be covered.

Man City can still win title, says Mancini

All the latest reports, photos and statistics on the weekend's Barclays Premier League matches

  • Steven Gerrard unleashes the volley that gave Liverpool the lead against Manchester City
  • Wayne Rooney steers in Manchester United's winning goal at Craven Cottage
  • Newcastle's Jonas Gutierrez heads his team in front against Chelsea
  • Marouane Fellaini gives Everton hope with his first goal against Aston Villa
  • Tottenham's Gareth Bale strikes his venomous winner past West Brom's Ben Foster
  • Reading's Jimmy Kebe fires his team in front against Sunderland
  • Southampton's Rickie Lambert heads in to make it 1-1 against Wigan
  • West Ham's Andy Carroll heads in against Swansea
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has refused to give up on retaining the Barclays Premier League crown after his side lost further ground in the title race as they were held to a 2-2 draw in a thrilling encounter at home to Liverpool.
City took the lead midway through the first half through Edin Dzeko but fell behind to outstanding strikes in either half by Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard. Aguero salvaged a point for the hosts with an exquisite strike from a tight angle 12 minutes from time.
However, it was not enough on a weekend when rivals Manchester United won and the result leaves Roberto Mancini's side nine points adrift of the leaders.
"Absolutely not [it is not over]," said Mancini. "I think we can recover nine points. There are still 13 games until the end. Two years ago Chelsea were nine points behind and when they went to play at Old Trafford two games from the end [of the season] they were only two points behind. Two games and the championship is reopened. I don't think this is finished but probably now we have to win all the games but if not then 11 or 12 games.
"But in football this can happen sometimes. Last year we recovered eight points in six games so I don't know why it can't happen this year. We have 15 games and they [United] have to play in FA Cup and the Champions League so the season is long - three months - and we are confident. It is enough to recover three or four points in three games."
Wayne Rooney's late goal sealed a narrow victory for United over Fulham on Saturday evening. In an eventful match at Craven Cottage, the woodwork was struck four times, the floodlights went out and the action was end to end.
Bryan Ruiz hit a post for the hosts, while Rooney, Patrice Evra and a header from Brede Hangeland cannoned back off the frame of the goal at the opposite end of the field. Just as United thought that it would not be their day, Rooney stepped up on 79 minutes to stroke the ball into the bottom corner after leading a counter-attack.
Moussa Sissoko scored twice for Newcastle United as they beat Chelsea 3-2 in a pulsating game at St James' Park. Jonas Gutierrez opened the scoring for the Magpies after Tim Krul kept former team-mate Demba Ba at bay with some strong work in goal.
Ba was then forced to leave the field with blood pouring from his nose late in the first half when he was caught by Fabio Coloccini. Frank Lampard equalised for Chelsea after the break with a 25-yard swerving strike before Juan Mata added the second for Chelsea when Torres, on for Ba, touched the ball onto his left foot, allowing his Spanish team-mate to curl the ball past Krul.
Sissoko then scored his first goal for Newcastle to level things up before grabbing a late winner for Alan Pardew's side.
Goals also rained at Goodison Park where Marouane Fellaini scored a last-minute equaliser to snatch Everton a 3-3 draw with struggling Aston Villa. Villa striker Christian Benteke got the visitors off to a flying start when he beat defender Jonny Heitinga and fired the ball low past Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard in the second minute before Victor Anichebe levelled the score at 1-1 following some poor defending.
Seconds later, Paul Lambert's side were back in front though thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor, who fired into the bottom corner to give Villa a 2-1 lead at the break. Villa extended their lead when Benteke added his second after the break, again beating Heitinga, as he headed past Howard in a bid to seal a much-needed win. Everton were not done, though, with Fellaini poking the ball home from Anichebe's lay-off before he levelled the score with a header at the near post in the 90th minute.
The draw allowed Tottenham Hotspur to move three points clear in fourth place on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over a West Bromwich Albion side reduced to 10 men early in the second half following the dismissal of defender Goran Popov. Gareth Bale struck the only goal of for Andre Villas-Boas's side, who lost Jermain Defoe to an ankle injury but now lie just a point behind Chelsea.
Reading beat Sunderland 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium to climb out of the relegation zone. Jimmy Kebe gave Reading the lead when he fired the ball past Simon Mignolet before Pavel Pogrebnyak fouled John O'Shea to give Sunderland a penalty. Craig Gardner stepped up to level the score at the break with a well-taken spot-kick before Kebe scored a late winner to give Reading a vital win and continue their strong run of form.
Wigan Athletic threw away their lead to draw 2-2 against Southampton at the DW Stadium. Rickie Lambert 's close-range header cancelled out Gary Caldwell's effort, before Morgan Schneiderlin's late score looked to have snatched the points for the Saints. However, Shaun Maloney popped up with a late equaliser for the Latics but it was not enough for Wigan to climb out of the relegation zone.
Arsenal beat Stoke City 1-0 at the Emirates when Lukas Podolski's low-free-kick was deflected by Geoff Cameron and past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who had single-handedly kept the Potters in the game with a series of quality saves.
Norwich City goalkeeper Mark Bunn saved a penalty as Queens Park Rangers were held to a goalless draw at Loftus Road. Adel Taarabt was denied by Bunn from the spot after the goalkeeper gave away a spot-kick when he brought down Jamie Mackie. The 0-0 draw was the fourth consecutive stalemate for Harry Redknapp's team, who remained at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table before the rest of the weekend's action began. After the match, Redknapp also revealed that their recent signing Loic Remy had strained a muscle in training yesterday.
West Ham United beat Swansea City 1-0 at Upton Park thanks to Andy Carroll's second goal of the season, a header past Gerhard Tremmel.
With our Matchday Live service you get minute-by-minute updates, photostreams and match statistics. Read our match reports including and manager reactions by clicking on the links below.

domenica 3 febbraio 2013

Iran says it will resume nuclear talks in Kazakhstan

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, left, and Iran's Ali Akbar Salehi, pose for a photo in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.

Munich, Germany
 -- Iran will give "positive consideration" to a renewed prospect of one-on-one talks with the United States on its nuclear program, its foreign minister said Sunday.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said a new round of talks between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, plus Germany, would be held February 25 in Kazakhstan. Salehi spoke on the last day of the 49th Munich Security Conference, a day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the Obama administration remains willing to hold direct talks with the Islamic Republic.
"That offer stands, but it must be real and tangible, and there has to be an agenda that they're prepared to speak to," Biden said. "We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise."

How sanctions hurt Iran

What will 2013 bring for Iran, Israel?
The United States and Iran haven't had diplomatic relations since 1980. But U.S. and Iranian diplomats had occasional talks in Baghdad during the eight-year American war in Iraq, and U.S. President Barack Obama held out the prospect of talks with Iran when he came into office in 2009.
Salehi noted Sunday that both Biden and the new secretary of state, John Kerry, have mentioned the possibility of talks with Iran in recent days, and "We take these statements with positive consideration."
Salehi said Iran has "no red line" for bilateral talks and is ready for negotiations over its nuclear program. But he added, "We have to make sure this time -- and this I think is very fair of us -- to make sure the other side this time comes with an authentic intention, with a fair and real intention, to resolve the issue." "
Iran has defied international demands that it halt its production of enriched uranium, which it insists is to be used for civilian nuclear power and research reactors. But the United States and Israel have accused Iran of seeking the capability to produce nuclear weapons, and the International Atomic Energy Agency says it can no longer verify that Iran's nuclear program is strictly peaceful.
Iran's refusal to shut down its uranium enrichment plants has led to tougher and tougher economic sanctions that have crippled its economy. An oil embargo and banking restrictions have crashed the Iranian currency, the rial. New U.S. sanctions imposed in January targeted a handful of companies and individuals that Washington says are providing materials and technology to Tehran's nuclear program.
Biden said Saturday that U.S. policy "is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," and said the clerical leadership in Tehran "need not sentence their people to economic deprivation and international isolation."
"There is still time, there is still space for diplomacy -- backed by pressure -- to succeed," he said. "The ball is in the government of Iran's court, and it's well past time for Tehran to adopt a serious, good-faith approach to negotiations with the P-5 plus 1."
During his confirmation hearing last week, Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that if Iran can prove its nuclear work is peaceful, "That's what we're seeking."
And Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, has in the past called for direct talks with Iran. It was a point of contention during his confirmation hearing, with some Republicans accusing him of being too soft on Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has urged the United States -- his country's leading ally -- to set a "red line" for nuclear development and make clear that if Iran crosses that line, it would risk war. Netanyahu, who won a new mandate in January, said Sunday that the job of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran "is becoming more complex, since Iran is equipping itself with cutting-edge centrifuges that shorten the time of enrichment. We must not accept this process."

Paraguayan presidential candidate killed in helicopter crash

The sudden death of retired Gen. Lino Cesar Oviedo sent shock waves across Paraguay's political landscape.
 -- A well-known candidate for Paraguay's presidency died in a helicopter crash while on the campaign trail, authorities said Sunday.
Retired Gen. Lino Cesar Oviedo died late Saturday night when the helicopter he was traveling in plunged to the ground in western Paraguay, officials said. He was 69.
Investigators found the charred helicopter wreckage Sunday morning and discovered that Oviedo, his bodyguard and the chopper's pilot had perished, Paraguay's civil aviation authority said.
While authorities said it was unclear what caused the crash, some supporters of Oviedo said the circumstances were suspicious.
Oviedo's sudden death in the heart of campaign season sent shock waves across Paraguay's political landscape less than three months before the presidential vote.
"We will hire international experts in aerial accidents to investigate what happened in a clear and objective manner," Paraguayan President Federico Franco said in a written statement.
Franco declared three days of national mourning in honor of Oviedo, describing him as a "military hero" and praising his role in the February 3, 1989, coup that ended military dictator Gen. Alfredo Stroessner's 35-year rule.
In a Twitter post, the National Union of Ethical Citizens political party he founded described him as "the father of democracy."
Oviedo was a controversial figure in Paraguay, beloved by his supporters and despised by enemies, some of whom accused him of trying to undemocratically seize power in the country.
Oviedo first ran for president in 1998, but he was taken out of the running after a military tribunal sentenced him to 10 years in prison for his role in a 1996 coup attempt.
A 2007 Paraguayan Supreme Court ruling overturned his sentence. Shortly afterward, he hit the campaign trail again, signing up to run in Paraguay's 2008 presidential election.
In that election, he finished third, garnering 21% of votes.
But that didn't stop him from signing up to run again this year.
"If they don't kill me, I am going to win the 2013 elections," Oviedo told Paraguay's La Nacion newspaper in 2011.
The announcement of his death on the 24-year annivesary of the 1989 coup that he helped lead sparked suspicion among one of his top allies.
"It's too much of a coincidence," said Cesar Durand, a spokesman for Oviedo's party, in an interview with Paraguay's Radio Cardinal.
"We are not going to permit this to go unpunished. ... I have absolutely no doubt that this is a political crime," he said.
Paraguay's Senate president described the circumstances of the accident as "strange," but said the party would accept the results of the official investigation, the government-run IP Paraguay news agency reported.

Pakistan's Malala: Global symbol, but still just a kid

(CNN) -- Eleven-year-olds sometimes have trouble sleeping through the night, kept awake by monsters they can't see.
But Malala Yousufzai knew exactly what her monsters looked like.
They had long beards and dull-colored robes and had taken over her city in the Swat Valley, in northwestern Pakistan.
It was such a beautiful place once, so lush and untouched that tourists flocked there to ski. But that was before 2003, when the Taliban began using it as a base for operations in nearby Afghanistan.
The Taliban believe girls should not be educated, or for that matter, even leave the house. In Swat they worked viciously to make sure residents obeyed.
Photos: Supporters rally behind MalalaPhotos: Supporters rally behind Malala

Hospital scans show Malala head injury

Thousands rally for Malala

Pakistanis outraged by Taliban attack
But this was not how Malala decided she would live. With the encouragement of her father, she began believing that she was stronger than the things that scared her.
"The Taliban have repeatedly targeted schools in Swat,"she wrote in an extraordinary blog when she was empowered to share her voice with the world by the BBC.
She was writing around the time the Taliban issued a formal edict in January 2009 banning all girls from schools. On the blog, she praised her father, who was operating one of the few schools that would go on to defy that order.
"My father said that some days ago someone brought the printout of this diary saying how wonderful it was," Malala wrote. "My father said that he smiled, but could not even say that it was written by his daughter."
Now that active and imaginative mind could be gone.
On Tuesday, October 9, gunmen shot Malala in the head and neck.
Now 14, she was coming home from school in a van with other schoolchildren when Taliban assassins stopped the vehicle, climbed on and demanded that the children identify her. Terrified, the children did it and the men fired, also wounding two other girls.
"We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us," a Taliban spokesman later said, as Malala, in a Pakistani hospital, breathed with the help of a ventilator.
The Taliban would come for her again if she managed to survive, the spokesman threatened.
Since October she has been in Great Britain receiving top medical care from an international team of doctors. On Wednesday, doctors announced that she is expected to undergo further surgery in Birmingham, to repair her skull.
"I shall raise my voice"
Malala looks the same today at 14, as she did at 11, like a child. But with each interview she gave to Pakistani and international reportersbetween 2009 and 2012, she sounded more like an adult.
She rarely showed fear, and she didn't hide her face.
"I have the right of education," she said in a 2011 interview with CNN. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."
Why do you risk your life to raise your voice? a reporter asked her.
In perfect English, she answered that her people need her.
"I shall raise my voice," she insisted.
"If I didn't do it, who would?" she said.
Girls who are scared should fight their fear, she said.
"Don't sit in your bedrooms.
"God will ask you on the day of judgment, 'Where were you when your people were asking you ... when your school fellows were asking you and when your school was asking you ...'Why I am being blown up?'"
Like father, like daughter
In January 2009, Malala and her father sat in their living room drinking tea and eating beef and curry stew.
It was the night before the Taliban had issued their edict against girls in school.
Ziauddin Yousufzai was beside himself. He knew he would have to close one of the private schools he ran for girls.
He knew it meant his daughter's education would come to an end.
Yousufzai grew up in the Swat area with little access to educational resources, but he had a natural passion for learning and literature. He was devastated that his daughter would be robbed of those pleasures.
That's according to Adam Ellick, a reporter with the New York Timeswho filmed a 2009 documentary about Malala and her father and the Taliban's campaign against girls' education.
Ellick spent months with the father and daughter and formed a deep friendship with them.
"Ziauddin had a revolutionary zeal and deep commitment to education," Ellick said this week. "This charming little girl, she is a mini-version of him in many ways. She loves school, homework. Whenever she would meet me she had a bookbag full of books."
"She didn't have that idealistic activist attitude when she's 10 and 11, because who does?" Ellick said. "Her situation demanded that she grow up before she should have. She caught his contagious commitment and idealism."
In the family's living room in 2009, Yousufzai lovingly put his palm atop his daughter's head.
He said he fell in love with her the minute she was born.
"A newborn child ... I looked into her eyes," he said. "I love her ... I love her."
Yousufzai explained what he thought of the Taliban, revealing a daring spirit.
He felt enormous pressure, but the family wasn't going to just leave Swat.
That was not what he was teaching his children.
"(The Taliban) left my people in hard days," he said, trying to find the right words in English.
"I should be beside them. This is my duty. And if I die for it, I think there would be no better chance for me to die than this."
Hundreds of schools torched
It was, without a doubt, a huge risk to educate girls in Swat around this time.
One need only look at the headlines in the region. "Militants destroyed 125 girls' schools in 10 months,' the Pakistan newspaper Daily Times reported in August 2008.
Human rights workers and aid agencies held a seminar in the area in 2008 to try to voice their concerns. They said Pakistani politicians and leaders were not listening.
Between 2007 and March 2009, 172 schools were shelled, blasted, demolished or ransacked. About 23,000 girls and 17,000 boys could no longer go to school, according to the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights.
In October 2010, months after massive floods caused widespread devastation in Pakistan, the Taliban stepped up its bombing campaign against schools that defiantly continued to educate girls.
For girls who weren't hurt, fear that they would be accomplished the Taliban's objective. Parents kept their daughters home to protect them.
In her BBC blog, Malala wrote on the eve of the edict that she had just ended her routine winter break from school. Usually before break, the principal would announce when classes would resume.
But this time, the principal didn't.
"I was in a bad mood," Malala blogged.
Vacation was normally fun but no one was in the mood to celebrate.
But what do you do when you're 11? You go to the playground and you play, so that's what they did.
Some of the girls said they thought everything would work out. They'd be back, they said.
Malala wanted to be hopeful, too. But before she left, she turned around and took one long look at the building.
Ice cream and diplomacy
Malala was right about the edict and what it meant.
After January 2009, she was forced to stay at home and read books, Ellick said.
Eventually she was moved around the country where she attended ad-hoc schools.
She still loved stories, and she always would.
Malala wondered on her blog if she should adopt a pen name -- Gul Makai.
Meaning corn flower in Urdu, the native language of the region, Gul Makai is a name taken from a character in a Pashtun folk story. It's not well known, but Pashtun experts say the story is a kind of Romeo and Juliet tale. It's a sweet love story laced with tragedy.
It's the kind of story that a young girl would know and would romanticize.
This was Malala. She toggled between two existences.
She was a global symbol of girls' rights but also just a kid.
In 2010 she met with U.S. Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke.
Ellick remembers being with Malala in a coffee shop after the meeting.
"She said, 'I want to get ice cream...I love vanilla ice cream,'" Ellick recalled. "Here is this girl that can go from being at a negotiating table, a high-level diplomatic meeting, but she also wanted ice cream."
Ellick remembered another time when they were out shopping in Islamabad, having fun and hunting for English language books and DVDs.
"I was disappointed that she wanted some trashy American sitcoms," Ellick laughs. "I kept telling myself, 'I know you want her to want to watch a documentary about Sierra Leone but she is just a girl.'"
Using the Quran, Malala's way
Malala told Geo TV in Pakistan in 2012 that the Taliban could do whatever they liked, but she was still going to get an education.
"We live in the 21st century," Malala said. "How can we be deprived from education?"
Those were bold words, the kind the world knows so well now.
But Malala wasn't always this way, Ellick said.
When he first met Malala, in tow with her father, she was kind of bashful.
"She wasn't as confident then as she has become," he said. "They've received attention and awards. They felt like their labor was paying off."
But could a 14-year-old really fully appreciate that words, however inspiring, could get her killed?
A CNN reporter asked her last year what she would do if she were president of Pakistan.
She said she'd tell the Taliban that girls must be educated.
The reporter pressed her hard. These guys have guns and bombs. You're just a kid, you do as you're told, they would tell her.
She stammered a little, understandably flustered.
If they didn't want to talk, she said, she would use the holy book they used to justify their brutality.
Nowhere in the Quran, Malala said, does it say that girls should not be allowed to go to school.