Dell buyout near to close

Hardware giant's push to go private could be wrapped up this weekend, claim sources.

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Hardware giant Dell is nearing an agreement to sell itself to a buyout consortium led by its founder and CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, it has been claimed.

Sources close to the situation report the deal could be announced as soon as Monday.

Michael Dell is expected to take majority ownership of the world's third-largest personal computer maker, which currently has a market value of $23 billion, while Silver Lake and Microsoft would become minority investors, another source claimed.

The final price the group is expected to pay Dell shareholders could not be immediately learned. The deal would mark the largest leveraged buyout since the global financial crisis.

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The transaction is set to be finalised over the weekend but the buyout consortium is working on last-minute details and the timetable could still slip, the sourced added.

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, it is understood.

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 and Barclays declined to comment. Silver Lake and Perella Weinberg could not be immediately reached for comment.

As part of the transaction, Michael Dell will contribute his existing stake of almost 16 per cent in the company toward gaining majority ownership, sources close to the matter have said.

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 transition away from public scrutiny.

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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 previously.

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