Dell Go Private? History, Research Say It Could Be Good For Everyone Involved


Martin Wolf, founder and president of Martin Wolf, a technology services M&A financial services advisor based in San Ramon, Calif., said public companies go private for a variety of reasons, including strategic and financial reasons.

In Dell's case, the company, in its promotions and advertisements, focuses on solutions, but it still remains a large PC shop, Wolf said. Dell will not likely rid itself of the PC business, but it cannot grow via a focus on that low-profit part of its overall business.

"The Dell company has to be transformed," he said. "But it can't as a public company."

Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul-based solution provider that counts Dell as its largest vendor partner, said his company has thought a lot about what a privatization would mean.

Logically, the idea that private companies are more innovative than public companies, as posited by the Berkeley research, makes sense to Clifford.

"It seems Dell would be able to accelerate its move to be more of an enterprise company without the eyes of Wall Street on them," he said. "It would let them take more risks and be more innovative. I hope it happens. Dell is bringing us great products and support. If they go private, I think we'll see more good stuff."

When customers ask how the privatization of Dell might impact them, Clifford jokes that Michael Dell has yet to call him to give him details.

"I tell them a $20 billion buyout would probably be in everybody's best interest," he said. "No one would invest $20 billion in a company without seeing it through to success. But if the investment doesn't happen, I'm OK. Everything for now from Dell is still moving in the right direction."

PUBLISHED JAN. 25, 2013