Reports: Microsoft may invest in Dell buyout

NEW YORK — Microsoft has joined the negotiations to buy struggling computer maker Dell, according to media reports.

Both CNBC and The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft Corp. may invest some of the money needed to take Dell Inc. private after 25 years as a publicly traded company. Tuesday’s stories cited unidentified people familiar with the negotiations.

If Microsoft joins in a Dell buyout, CNBC and the Journal say the software maker would contribute $1 billion to $3 billion. That amount would make Microsoft Corp. a minority investor in a complex deal expected to cost $23 billion to $27 billion if it’s completed.

Microsoft declined to comment on the reports.

Word that Dell Inc. is interested in selling to a group led by buyout firm Silver Lake Partners first surfaced last week. Dell’s stock price has climbed about 20 percent since then. The stock rose 33 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $13.17 in Tuesday’s early afternoon.

Dell, which is based in Round Rock, Texas, hasn’t said whether it’s interested in selling. Going private, though, would enable the company to overhaul its operations without having to meet Wall Street’s demands for higher quarterly earnings.

Dell, the second largest U.S. computer maker behind Hewlett-Packard Co., is one of Microsoft’s biggest partners. Among other things, Microsoft licenses its Windows operating system to Dell’s personal computer makers.

Like many other PC makers, Dell’s revenue has been sliding as the popularity of smartphones and tablet computers divert consumer and business spending from laptop and desktop machines.

By becoming a part-owner in Dell, Microsoft would risk being viewed by HP and other PC makers as more of a rival than a partner. Microsoft already has rankled some of its PC makers by releasing a tablet computer called Surface that competes against their products.

So far, though, there has been little evidence indicating that the Surface is reshaping the market for computing devices.

More in Herald Business Journal

Exec director of Future of Flight in Mukilteo stepping down

A former board president will temporarily lead Snohomish County’s most popular tourism attraction.

Seafood producer Keyport moves corporate HQ to Edmonds

The family business sees the city as business friendly — and able to accommodate expansion.

Tax bill will help fund 5,000 layoffs, Kimberly-Clark says

Executives declined to say which factories the company would be closing.

Ex-Boeing executive Ray Conner joins Alaska Air board

Alaska Air Group said his appointment affirms the company’s commitment to its Northwest roots.

AI can read! Tech firms race to smarten up thinking machines

“A long way from computers being able to read … general text in the same way that humans can.”

Peoples, HomeStreet banks bump lowest salaries after tax cut

The banks with Snohomish County branches will raise minimum salaries for employees to $15 an hour.

Amazon opens store with no cashiers, lines or registers

The Seattle store allows shoppers to use a smartphone app to pay for items they want.

Trump hits solar panels, washing machines with tariffs

The administration cast the decisions as part of his pledge to put American companies and jobs first.

Want to save more money? Try these three financial fasts

You can try the food fast, a clothing fast, or the 21-day financial fast.

Most Read