By Nadia Damouni and Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis
NEW YORK Feb 1 Dell Inc is edging
closer to an agreement to sell itself to a buyout consortium led
by Michael Dell, its founder and chief executive, and private
equity firm Silver Lake Partners in a deal that could top $24
billion, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The buyout consortium is negotiating taking Dell private at
$13 to $14 per share, two of the people said. This translates
into an equity valuation for the Round Rock, Texas-based company
of between $22.6 billion and $24.4 billion.
Dell shares were up 2.5 percent at $13.57 in afternoon
Michael Dell is expected to take majority ownership of the
world's third-largest personal computer maker while Silver Lake
and Microsoft Corp would become minority investors,
three of the people said.
The transaction is set to be finalized over the weekend and
the timetable could still slip, the people cautioned, asking not
to be named because the matter is not public.
The investment group, which held negotiations with Dell's
camp in New York on Thursday, has secured up to $15 billion of
debt financing to take Dell private from four investment banks
-- Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch,
Credit Suisse and RBC Capital, people familiar
with the matter said.
Barclays is also advising Silver Lake on the transaction,
along with Perella Weinberg Partners, said two of the people.
JPMorgan Chase & Co is advising Dell.
Representatives for Dell, Microsoft, Silver Lake and
Barclays declined to comment. Perella Weinberg could not be
immediately reached for comment.
As part of the transaction, Michael Dell will contribute his
existing stake of almost 16 percent in the company toward
gaining majority ownership, sources close to the matter have
said. The deal would mark the largest leveraged buyout since
the global financial crisis.
Going private would allow Dell, which has been trying to
become a one-stop shop for corporate technology needs as the PC
market shrinks, to conduct that difficult makeover away from
Dell has formed a special committee of its independent
directors and hired Evercore Partners Inc to assess
whether the company is getting the best deal for shareholders
and not one that is just in the best interest of Michael Dell,
several people familiar with the matter have told Reuters