Dell appoints Evercore Partners to find alternative buyout offers

DELL, the US personal computer manufacturer which is currently negotiating a private buyout deal, has appointed advisory firm Evercore Partners to find out if a better offer can be found, according to reports.

Dell is believed to be close to a deal led by buyout firm Silverlake Partners, which is being supported by founder and chief executive Michael Dell in a deal worth around $23bn (£14.5bn).

However, because of Michael Dell’s 15 per cent stake in his company, any deal involving him would be heavily scrutinised by shareholders.

In order to avoid the risk of lawsuits from those shareholders anxious to get the best return on their investments, the firm has hired Evercore to test whether Dell could get a better deal elsewhere, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with negotiations. The move would supposedly protect Dell against criticisms and lawsuits over its handling of the deal.

Shares in Dell, which rose 20 per cent in two days last week as news of Silverlake’s interests emerged, were flat in New York yesterday.

Dell is believed to have appointed JP Morgan as its lead adviser on the deal, while Silverlake has tapped Barclays, Bank of America Merill Lynch, Royal Bank of Canada and Credit Suisse for funds.

The personal computer manufacturer, based in Texas, saw its share price decline by a third last year as sales were hit by rising competition from China’s Lenovo, and the increasing popularity of tablet computers.

Because of this it is seen as a bargain buy by investors hoping to improve the company’s fortunes.

Dell did not comment last night, while Evercore was unavailable.