Blackstone Group is weighing a bid for Dell Inc., the computer maker seeking offers to rival the proposed $24.4-billion buyout by its founder and Silver Lake Management, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Blackstone may bid as part of a group including other investors, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the process is confidential. The New York private-equity firm hasn't made a decision, said another person. Under the go-shop provision of the Silver Lake merger agreement, Dell's board has through March 22 to seek superior proposals, and can negotiate beyond that date if it receives an offer it deems serious.
Blackstone and larger personal computer makers Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo Group Ltd. have inspected Dell's books after signing non-disclosure agreements, people familiar with the matter said March 7. Blackstone's interest in the company, the world's third-largest PC maker, is considered more serious than that of the other companies reviewing Dell's finances, said one of the people familiar with the situation.
David Frink, a spokesman for Dell, declined to comment. Peter Rose, a spokesman for Blackstone, wasn't immediately available to comment.
The Silver Lake offer has met with opposition from Dell's largest outside investors — Southeastern Asset Management Inc. and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. — which argued that the current bid fails to reflect the company's fair value. If successful, the deal would be the largest leveraged buyout of a technology company since the financial crisis.