Dell goes private in $24 billion deal


— 10:16 AM on February 5, 2013

It's official. Dell has announced that it's going private. The deal is worth $24.4 billion and is expected to close this summer, before the end of the firm's second fiscal quarter. Regulators and shareholders still need to approve the stock buyback, which at least looks like a decent deal for existing investors. Stockholders stand to pocket $13.65 per share—25% more the value of those shares about a month ago, when rumors of the deal started swirling.

Investment firm Silver Lake Partners and Michael Dell himself are putting up some of the cash to purchase the PC maker's outstanding stock. Microsoft is also kicking in $2 billion, although the software giant indicates that sum is a loan rather than an ownership stake. The rumor circulating last week suggested that Microsoft wanted a say in Dell's operations, but it's unclear how big of a role Redmond will play. Microsoft's short statement on the deal indicates only that it's "committed to the long term success of the entire PC ecosystem and invests heavily in a variety of ways to build that ecosystem for the future."

Dell will obviously continue to crank out Windows-based devices. Whether the firm produces more products based on alternative operating systems remains to be seen. Dell has in the past offered Linux as an alternative to Windows on select PCs. Last month, it also revealed Project Ophelia, a thumbdrive-sized system that runs Android and offers thin client functionality.

By going private, Dell can chart its own path without having to answer to shareholders. The company is still the world's third-largest PC maker, and it sits in the number-two spot in North America. Although its fourth quarter results have yet to be announced, Dell raked in revenue of $13.7 billion in its third fiscal quarter, posting a profit of $589 million.

   
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