Dell Buyout Edges Closer, but Microsoft’s Role Still Uncertain

Dell’s proposed buyout that would see it become a private entity once again remains on track and a deal could be announced in the coming days, although two key issues still need to be resolved according to reports earlier today.

The most crucial issue appears to be with Michael Dell himself, with unnamed sources telling Bloomberg that the company’s CEO is determined to gain majority control of the company. Meanwhile, the role of Microsoft, which is reportedly investing $2 billion into the deal, also needs to be ironed out.

Michael Dell Wants Controlling Interest

It appears that any deal is contingent upon Michael Dell assuming a majority interest in the company that he founded. To this end, Bloomberg is reporting that the CEO is prepared to inject up to $1 billion of his own personal funds into the deal, adding this to his current 15.7% stake in the company to assume over 50% ownership of the company.

According to Bloomberg’s source, Dell is determined to assume a majority stake so that he can reposition the company as an enterprise player without having to worry about the concerns of fickle investors that lack the patience to see out such a dramatic transformation.

Bloomberg reports that by adding his own stake in the firm – worth around $3.6 billion – plus another $1 billion of his own personal funds, Dell would be able to cover more than 50% of the total $8/$9 billion equity check needed to clinch the deal, with the remainder of the funds coming from banks, and possibly some additional funding coming from Dell’s own cash reserves, which are estimated at some $11 billion. In addition to this, investment firm Silver Lake and Microsoft would both stump up around $1-$2 billion each.

Microsoft’s Role a Sticking Point?

A second crucial factor that needs to be ironed out is the role that Microsoft would play in the future Dell. As we reported last week, the software giant is prepared to plough up to $2 billion into Dell’s takeover, but in return for its funding it wants to be more than just a silent partner.

Sources told Bloomberg that Microsoft is demanding to have a say in the future direction of Dell, and officials of the two companies are believed to negotiating exactly what level of involvement this would amount to. SiliconANGLE explored the reasons why Microsoft was investing in Dell last week, and it’s likely that its chief demand will be that Dell agrees to commit to using the Windows operating system to power the majority of its future devices.

Financing Arrangements

Assuming that Michael Dell can organize his side of the finances and a deal can be worked out with Microsoft, it appears that there’s little standing in the way of a deal being announced soon. Silver Lake and its partners are believed to have lined up $15 billion to finance their side of the deal, which would see Dell Inc. valued at $23 billion – $24 billion.

About Mike Wheatley

Mike loves to talk about Big Data, the Internet of Things, Hacktivists and hacking, but he also hates Google and can never resist having a quick dig at them should the opportunity arise :) Got a REAL news story or tip? Email Mike@SiliconANGLE.com.