Dell Inc to go private in $24.4 billion deal, Michael, Silver Lake pay $13.65 per share, Microsoft $2 bn

Dell sale

If approved, the deal will likely give Michael Dell his last chance to restore the luster to a company that established him as one of the world's most respected entrepreneurs. Dell started selling PCs out of his dorm room while he was still a freshman at the University of Texas. His legacy has been tarnished in the past decade as HP and other rivals outmaneuvered his company. In recent years, Dell has struggled to cope with the upheaval unleashed by the popularity of smartphones and tablet computers.

The buyout marks a new era for a company created in 1984 by a college kid with a $1,000 investment. The company, initially called "PCs Limited,'' would go on to revolutionize the PC industry by taking orders for custom-made machines at a reasonable price - first on the phone, then on the Internet.

Initially valued at $85 million in its 1988 initial public offering of stock, Dell went on a growth tear that turned the company into a stock market star. At the height of the dot-com boom in 2000, Dell was the world's largest PC maker, with a market value of more than $100 billion.

But Dell began to falter as other PC makers were able to lower their costs. At the same time, HP and other rivals forged relationships with stores that gave them the advantage of being able to showcase their machines. By 2006, HP had supplanted Dell as the world's largest PC maker.

With its revenue slipping, Dell's market value had fallen to $19 billion before the recent leaks about the buyout negotiations.

Unlike its rival, HP apparently doesn't have any interest in going private. In a statement Tuesday, HP said it intends to court Dell customers who are worried about the company's ability to innovate, expand its product line and pay its bills now that it will have to earmark some of cash flow to reduce the debt taken on to go private.

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