Dell CEO said to mull Blackstone buyout only with CEO assurance

It's unclear if Silver Lake, Blackstone, or Carl Icahn will buy out the PC maker, but Michael Dell is reportedly saying he'll only support Blackstone if he remains the company's CEO.

The Dell XPS 13 ultrabook. Dell

It was assumed just a couple of months ago that Dell would go private with a $24.4 billion buyout under founder and CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake.

But several wrenches have been thrown into that plan.

Dell confirmed earlier this week that it had two possibly "superior" buyout bids , one coming from activist investor Carl Icahn and the other from private equity firm Blackstone. This means that if one of these two other potential bidders gets the prize, there could be a monumental power shift in the company.

Michael Dell is allegedly now saying that he will only support a Blackstone buyout if he remains the company's CEO, according to Bloomberg.

A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the company's founder had several meetings with Blackstone executives regarding the potential bid. These meetings have been private and negotiations on a possible deal are ongoing.

Dell announced in February that it had plans to take the company private via a $24.4 billion, or $13.65 per share, buyout by its founder and CEO Michael Dell, who owns about 14 percent of Dell's common shares, and the private equity firm Silver Lake. Microsoft also kicked in a $2 billion loan. The Silver Lake buyout has to get approval from a majority of Dell's shareholders in order to go through.

According to Dell , the Blackstone proposal gives shareholders two options: cash out or stay in. Those that cash out will receive $14.25 per share. Those who decide to stay in will receive shares "valued in excess of $14.25." The Blackstone proposal would keep Dell public, meaning the company's stock would remain on the Nasdaq. Carl Icahn's offer would also keep the company public and let shareholders decide whether to cash out at $15 per share or stay in.

The Michael Dell and Silver Lake proposal is also still on the table. And now, all of these potential bidders have to prove to Dell's special committee, and ultimately, its board of directors, that their move is the best.

Blackstone has reportedly approached Mark Hurd , the former chief executive at Hewlett-Packard, about the possibility of running rival Dell if its buyout effort is successful. However, Hurd has denied any interest in the position.

According to Bloomberg, if a Blackstone buyout bars Michael Dell from remaining CEO of the company, the founder would reportedly cash in his shares and leave. However, Blackstone would then need to come up with the $4.5 billion in financing that Michael Dell was contributing to the buyout.

When contacted by CNET, Dell declined to comment.

 

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