Blackstone Still Mulling Dell Bid

Mar 22 2013 | 11:45am ET

With just over 12 hours to go before the deadline to make an offer, the Blackstone Group is still unsure about whether to make a play for Dell Inc.

The private equity giant has spent a lot of time looking at Dell's books over the past several weeks as it mulls a competing offer to a $24.4 billion buyout deal proposed by company founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners. Blackstone may put together a group to bid for all of Dell or part of it. Or, as seems increasingly likely, none at all, The New York Times reports.

Dell's "go-shop" period ends at midnight tonight, after which the company will attempt to win support for the buyout, which would take it private.

Of the four groups that have looked at Dell's books, Blackstone is still seen as the most likely to make an offer. Former Dell mergers and acquisitions chief David Johnson now works at the private equity firm and is said to be agitating for a bid.

Blackstone has held talks with Southeastern Asset Management, which owns 8.4% of Dell and which opposes the buyout, about backing a rival deal. And it has approached GE Capital about making an offer for Dell's financial-services arm. Those talks remain fluid, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Blackstone has also spoken with Oracle President Mark Hurd, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO, about taking over Dell should Michael Dell step down if his offer is rejected.

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