The Wall Street Journal today is reporting that a $23 billion deal to take computer company Dell private is close to complete. The Journal cites "people familiar with the matter," who state the deal could purchase Dell stock at $13.50 to $13.75 per share.
These price estimates fit within the range that was rumored as far back as mid-January, when it was reported that investment firm Silver Lake Partners would be the major player in the buyout. Since that time, Microsoft was also name-dropped as a potential investor in the buyout talks. Today's journal report confirms that Silver Lake, Microsoft, and Dell founder Michael Dell are all major investors in the buyout. Dell's 16% stake in Dell will contribute to the deal, while Microsoft is investing around $2 billion and Silver Lake will pitch in around $1 billion.
Dell, along with other PC manufacturers (such as HP), has been struggling to increase its value in the face of a changing computer industry. As consumers turn more to mobile solutions such as smartphones and tablets, PC sales have been declining. In addition, no new software has come along to spur average PC consumers to upgrade their desktop machines. Just last month a report showed that PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012. A privately held Dell might be able to make the type of business-wide changes that would upset investors in a public company.