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Blackstone pulls out of race to buy Dell

19 Apr 2013

delllPrivate equity giant Blackstone has reportedly decided to pull out of the race for Dell, making the $24.4bn take-private offer from founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake more likely to succeed.

Blackstone decided to end its pursuit of Dell due to a lower earnings forecast from Dell’s management, which expects operating income to fall to $3bn from $3.7bn, said Reuters, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The decision was also influenced by a 14 per cent drop in PC sales in the first quarter of the year due to rising popularity of smartphones and tablets.

The Financial Times also said that Blackstone, which said it was ready to offer more than $14.25 per share for Dell, has abandoned its plans to acquire the company.

The Dell will now most likely be bought either by its founder and Silver Lake or billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Icahn has recently signed an agreement to cap his ownership of the business at 10 per cent, which allows him to make a joint offer with other stakeholders.

Icahn has previously criticised the Dell-Silver lake bid, which is also opposed by 8.4 per cent owner Southeastern Asset Management. He has offered to pay over $15 per share for 58 per cent of Dell.

Earlier reports suggested that Icahn and Blackstone could team up and make a joint bid for the company.

Blackstone has just made a return of 2.6 times from the IPO of theme park operator SeaWorld.

Meanwhile, Dell’s suitor Silver Lake has raised more than $10bn for it latest large-cap technology investment fund, Silver Lake Partners IV.

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