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Blackstone announces preliminary bid for Dell

By Michael J. de la Merced and Andrew Ross Sorkin
New York Times

The Blackstone Group has sent a preliminary deal proposal to Dell Inc., people briefed on the matter said Saturday, signaling that the investment giant may make a formal bid for the computer company.

The letter, sent late Friday night, was meant to keep talks going with a special committee of Dell’s board, one of these people said. It was not clear whether the Dell committee would choose to continue negotiating with Blackstone, though it is expected to make a decision as soon as Tuesday.

The company’s directors have spent the past 45 days trying to find alternatives to a $24.4 billion offer from Michael S. Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake.

By the end of last week, advisers to the Dell directors were expecting initial proposals from both Blackstone and billionaire Carl C. Icahn. Others that had been invited to participate in the go-shop period, including Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, had long ago been discounted as potential buyers and were instead seen as simply taking a look at Dell’s books.

A spokesman for Dell declined to comment.

The emergence of potential rival bidders for Dell could help lift the price of the deal. Two of the company’s biggest outside investors, Southeastern Asset Management and T. Rowe Price, have said that they will not accept the current price of $13.65 a share.

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