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Blackstone explores options for Dell bid

Carl Icahn could express interest in making a bid.

The US asset manager Blackstone Group is exploring several options of making an offer for all or part of computer maker Dell as the 45-day purchase deadline will close today.

Dell agreed to be taken private by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners for $24.4bn in February.

Carl Icahn, the majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, could express interest in making a bid for Dell, reported the Financial Times citing two people familiar with the situation.

Blackstone and Icahn have signed undisclosed deals for access to Dell’s books in the recent times.

The current offer price for Dell is $13.65 a share, which represents a 25 per cent premium over the stock’s undisturbed price. Potential new bidders need to offer higher bid than current price to convince the buyout group.

In the event if another formal bid is made, Michael Dell and Silver Lake will have only one opportunity to match. This could lead another bidder such as Blackstone or Icahn to make an initial bid not much higher than $13.65 per share, allowing Michael Dell and Silver Lake to match, reported FT.

Blackstone had discussions with several parties about partnering on a bid in the recent times. Southeastern Asset Management, a major shareholder of Dell, was said to be in discussions with Blackstone about rolling its 8.4 per cent stake into a new bid. Private equity firm TPG had initially considered working on a bid with Michael Dell, but backed down before the buyout offer was made.

People familiar with the situation said that a deal in partnership between Blackstone and TPG is unlikely to happen.

Dell, Blackstone, TPG and Southeastern have declined to comment on the bid.