Dell in talks with private-equity firms to go private, report says

Bloomberg says Dell is in buyout talks with at least two private-equity firms and that the discussions are preliminary and could fall apart.

The Dell XPS 13 ultrabook
Dell is in buyout talks with at least two private-equity firms, Bloomberg reported today.

The talks, which would take the computer hardware maker private, are still preliminary and could fall apart because the firms may not be able to line up financing or resolve how to exit the investment in the future, Bloomberg said, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. One of the people told the publication that several large banks have been contacted about financing a buyout.

A Dell spokesman told CNET that the company doesn't comment on rumor and speculation.

Dell, which has long been one of the world's largest PC makers, has been struggling of late. The company's stock has lost about a third of its value over the past year as it shifts focus away from its traditional computer market to providing business products like networking and storage. It has made many acquisitions over the past several years and has said it would continue to do so. However, there are worries about how fast those businesses are taking off.

At the same time, Dell has said it remains committed to the PC market. However, Dell and rival Hewlett-Packard have had trouble competing with upcoming Asian rivals like Lenovo and Asus. Lenovo in late 2011 surpassed Dell to become the world's second-largest provider of PCs.

The Bloomberg report today sent Dell shares soaring, recently up 13 percent to $12.30. The stock jumped so quickly after the report that it initially triggered a circuit breaker, which halted trading in the shares.

About the author

Shara Tibken is a senior writer for CNET focused on Samsung and Apple. She previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. She's a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."

 

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