|By Maureen O'Gara||
|February 4, 2013 07:00 AM EST||
The Financial Times claims that Silver Lake's buyout offer for Dell has gone to $15 a share, up from somewhere between $13 and $14.25, if a tablet-induced leveraged buyout can be put together.
Barron's thinks large stockholders are pressing for $20 and the Wall Street Journal says Microsoft's role in the affair is a "sticking point" and "one of several issues being hashed out ahead of a final buyout agreement."
Microsoft has offered to kick in $2 billion or more for equity in the form of convertible preferred securities to take Dell private and is expected to have a say in Dell operations.
The parties are evidently trying to figure how big a sway Redmond would have.
A sensitive point is how the investment would affect their commercial relationship, which doubtless troubles Dell rivals too. Apparently Microsoft envisions the lion's share of Dell's devices being Windows-based.
The Journal's sources still believe the deal is "on track" and could be announced in the next few days.
The deal would include Michael Dell's 16% position, $15 in debt financing arranged by Silver Lake with at least four reported banks, and equity contributions from both Microsoft and Silver Lake.
Reuters says there's a Plan B in case the buyout falls apart: Dell would do the borrowing and buy back a lot of shares but such a path wouldn't solve the basic problems a buyout is meant to address.
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