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Dell in $24.4B founder-led deal to go private

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 12:38 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Slumping personal computer maker Dell is bowing out of the stock market in a $24.4 billion buyout that represents the largest deal of its kind since the Great Recession dried up the financing for such risky maneuvers.

The complex agreement announced Tuesday will allow Dell's management, including founder Michael Dell, to attempt a company turnaround away from the glare and financial pressures of Wall Street.

Dell stockholders will be paid $13.65 per share to leave the company on its own. That's 25 percent more than the $10.88 the stock was going for before word of the buyout talks trickled out last month. But it's a steep markdown from the shares' price of $26 less than five years ago, when founder Dell returned for a second go-round as CEO.

Dell shares rose 11 cents to $13.38 per share in morning trading, indicating that investors don't believe a better offer is likely.

Dell's decision to go private is a reflection of the tough times facing the personal computer industry as more technology spending flows toward smartphones and tablet computers. PC sales fell 3.5 percent last year, according to the research group Gartner Inc., the first annual decline in more than a decade. What's more, tablet computers are expected to outsell laptops this year.

The shift has weakened long-time stalwarts such as Dell, fellow PC maker Hewlett-Packard Co., chip maker Intel Corp. and software maker Microsoft Corp.