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Dell eyes takeover possibilities

Though the company is considering acquisitions, CEO Michael Dell says it will rely primarily on growth from within.

BOCA RATON, Fla.--Michael Dell, CEO of personal computer maker Dell Computer, said on Thursday the company is considering acquisitions but would continue to rely primarily on growth from within.

"It's a pretty simple issue," said Dell, in comments to Reuters at the Business Council forum of chief executive officers here. "If you look at the new areas of Dell's business, whether it's in data networking, storage, or services, we're looking at alliances and partnerships--and certainly acquisitions would be a potential."

But "we certainly don't have any acquisitions to announce," said Dell, CEO of the Round Rock, Texas-based company. Organic growth "will continue to be the majority of our growth," he said.

Dell's comments come at a time of consolidation in the industry. Compaq Computer and Hewlett-Packard plan to merge. Shareholders are expected to vote on the merger plan in March, but analysts say it is still a toss-up whether the contentious deal will go through.

Dell Computer has led a price war that has helped it win market share and capture the top spot from rival Compaq, now the No. 2 personal computer maker. But PC demand has slacked off as the economic downturn has dampened buying by consumers and corporations, and the computer company is looking to find new areas for growth.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday announcing the results of a Business Council survey of CEOs, Michael Dell reiterated comments of other corporate leaders who said they were braced for more short-term weakness, but most predict a recovery from recession later this year.

Dell said he was encouraged about the prospects for the PC industry because he expects more people will need to replace aging computers.

"A replacement cycle will open up," he said.

Michael Dell and about 100 other chief executives from major corporations, including Citigroup and Johnson & Johnson, are attending the Business Council meetings here.

Dell shares closed at $24.69, down 2.3 percent Thursday.

Story Copyright  © 2002 Reuters Limited.  All rights reserved.