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Friday, April 19, 2013
Blackstone Withdraws Takeover Bid for Dell

Private-equity firm Blackstone has ended its pursuit of Dell, opening the way for for Michael Dell and his private equity partner Silver Lake to go ahead with a $24.4 billion deal to buy the PC maker.

Blackstone, which last month launched a bid for the computer maker to rival a $24.4 billion buyout offer from Silver Lake and Michael Dell, withdrew its bid on Thursday.

Blackstone submitted a tentative offer to buy the company after Dell announced in February its plans to take the company private via a $24.4 billion, or $13.65 per share, buyout by its founder and CEO Michael Dell, who owns about 14 percent of Dell's common shares, and the private equity firm Silver Lake.

Blackstone noted in a letter to Dell's special committee that a "unprecedented 14 percent market decline in PC volume in the first quarter of 2013" worried the firm and didn't line up with Dell's projections for modest industry growth. In addition, Blackstone's evaluation of Dell showed a "rapidly eroding financial profile." Since the bid submission, Dell cut its projections for operating income in the current year to $3 billion from $3.7 billion, the firm said .

Dell had previously confirmed that it had received two buyout offers -- one from Blackstone and the other from activist investor Carl Icahn.

The Blackstone proposal would have kept Dell public.

Both Icahn and Blackstone each offered alternatives that would keep part of the company public. Icahn has proposed paying $15 per share for 58 percent of Dell, while Blackstone had indicated it could pay more than $14.25 per share for the whole of Dell.

Dell said on Tuesday Icahn had agreed not to raise his stake in the company to more than 10 percent and that he could team up with other shareholders on a potential bid for the personal computer maker. Icahn responded that his latest agreement with Dell did not prevent him from embarking on a proxy fight.

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