After gathering a consortium of investors, including Microsoft, Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell has submitted an offer to buy his company out of its stock, returning it to private ownership for the first time since June 1988.
The accepted offer? $24.4 billion dollars.
Microsoft put $2 billion toward the deal, which is the “largest leveraged buyout of a tech company” in history, according to Dan Pearson of GamesIndustry.
While the company is technically obligated to keep the door open to competing offers for the next 45 days, the likelihood of a higher bid coming through is slim given the massive price tag.
Tech companies that exclusively produce computers have fallen into a lull since the development of tablets have made them more universal and obtainable. The competition on the market has caused computer sales to dip “for the first time in a decade”, shrinking about 3.5% in the last few months. The involvement of Microsoft in this deal is absolutely not surprising, as they’re attempting to keep the laptop and desktop market active to maintain a market for their software, including primarily their operating systems. Their grasp on the market has slipped since the development of Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems, and the increasing popularity of Apple’s Mac OSX. If they can regain their partnership with Dell, Microsoft may be able to regain some of their lost footing.
Microsoft, with the release of their Windows 8 operating system, have made it easier for tablets or hybrid touchscreen computers to incorporate an operating system designed to be used with the interesting touchscreen software that may have become accustomed to in our day to day lives of using modern touchscreen smartphones and the like. While this doesn’t help the traditional computer industry particularly, their contribution to Michael Dell may be their way of giving back.
Meanwhile, what might Dell have in store for his company after the buyout is finalized? Will he sell Alienware? Will he push Alienware to develop a tablet to compete with the Razer gaming tablet? Maybe an absorption of Alienware into Dell Inc. rather than retaining it as a subsidiary? Whatever is planned, it seems fairly certain that the ownership consortium will have to do something productive, to make their money back in as timely a manner as possible, because at this rate, the computer market without a proper push will bury them with their investment.
The interesting thing about this procedure is that the company, one of the largest computer companies globally, will no longer be trading publicly. This will leave a hole on the market that may allow a different tech company to fill the void, and allow previous investors to invest in a different company if they wish.
What company would you invest in if suddenly a massive chunk of your investments were suddenly bought out? Would you toss it into a startup? Maybe a Kickstarter project? This event is likely to cause a noticeable shakeup in the tech industry.