With Dell Deadline Looming, Blackstone Group Seeks Partner For Dell Counterbid


Another day, another round of rumors regarding possible bidders to acquire Dell.

Wednesday's accounts include a Wall Street Journal article that reports The Blackstone Group, first mentioned this week as a possible bidder, has talked with GE Capital about acquiring Dell's financial services business. Meanwhile, Fox Business reports that Blackstone has explored a joint bid with TPG.

Thus far, there have been no formal counter offers to Dell to try and top the current $24.4 billion offer to take Dell private by Silver Lake Partners and others including Michael Dell. The "go-shop" deadline for Dell's board to receive and entertain alternative offers is Friday, but negotiations could continue beyond that date if the board accepts another offer.

[Related: Who's Who: The Key Stakeholders In Dell's $24.4B Deal To Go Private]

Blackstone appears to be mulling a serious bid behind the scenes, and reports suggest that the company even wants Oracle President Mark Hurd to succeed Michael Dell as CEO should Dell not want to be a part of an alternative acquisition to the Silver Lake Deal.

The deal with Silver Lake touched off a heated response from numerous parties and shareholders who felt that Dell could have done better than $13.65 per share, about a 30-percent premium over the trading price at the time when rumors of a go-private transaction first surfaced.

Icahn Enterprises, which has acquired about 6 percent of Dell's stock, wrote a letter to Dell's board proposing a $9 per share special dividend and warned the board that it would face "years of litigation" challenging the proposed Silver Lake deal.

Dell CEO Michael Dell has heard the criticism and even called at least two solution providers to quell their fears on what a buyout would mean to Dell's channel partners.

With all the reports of additional bidders, investors appear confident that at least one formal offer will materialize as Dell shares have been trading above $13.65 for more than a month. Wednesday afternoon shares were trading at $14.22, down 11 cents.

PUBLISHED MARCH 21, 2013