Dell Founder Said to Seek Majority Control With Own Funds
Michael Dell is seeking majority control of Dell Inc. (DELL) in a buyout that would combine his 15.7 percent stake in the company with as much as $1 billion of his personal funds, said people familiar with the matter.
Michael Dell may contribute equity financing of $500 million to $1 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Dell, the PC maker he founded in 1984, is nearing a buyout led by Silver Lake Management LLC, and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) may provide part of the funding, people familiar with the situation have said.
Going private and pushing his ownership stake past 50 percent will enable Chief Executive Officer Dell to reposition the company amid shrinking PC sales and an industrywide shift to mobile and cloud computing without the scrutiny and stock fluctuations that come with being publicly traded.
By contributing his stake, worth about $3.6 billion at yesterday’s close, and another $500 million to $1 billion, Michael Dell would be putting up more than half of the total $8 billion to $9 billion equity check, with the remainder of the takeover financed by debt and possibly some of the $11 billion of cash Dell reported it had as of Sept. 30. Silver Lake and Microsoft would invest $1 billion to $2 billion each, said the people with knowledge of the talks.
David Frink, a spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, declined to comment, as did Peter Wootton, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and Charlotte McCrum, a spokeswoman for Silver Lake at Brunswick Group.
Michael Dell, the special committee of the company’s board and their advisers are finalizing details of the equity financing while making sure they have explored all possible alternative options, including a sale to other buyers, said two of the people familiar with the situation. Given the potential for conflicts in a deal where Michael Dell helps take his company private, financial advisers and Dell’s board are being extra cautious, said these people.
Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR), which is advising the special committee of the board, has approached other potential buyers and no alternative bids have emerged so far, said one of the people. Dell and its advisers have also explored the possibility of a dividend recapitalization, which would involve taking on debt to help pay for a special dividend, as a way to increase shareholders’ value, said another person.
Dana Gorman, a spokesman for Evercore at Abernathy MacGregor Group, declined to comment.
Silver Lake and its partners have lined up about $15 billion in funds for a buyout of Dell, the third-biggest maker of personal computers, people familiar with the situation have said. The deal would likely value Dell at about $23 billion to $24 billion, said one of these people. Dell and Silver Lake have been in talks about a deal that would take the company private at or a little below $14 a share, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the main bank advising Dell on its talks to go private, people familiar with the process have said.
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