MICROSOFT has waded into moves to buy out US computer maker Dell, offering a multi-billion dollar investment in the deal.
Although the company is not believed to have committed to a contribution, it has held talks over joining a group of investors led by Silver Lake Partners.
An investment in Dell could signal a further move into the hardware business from Microsoft, which launched its own Surface tablet computer last year.
A takeover deal for Dell is expected to cost around $23bn (£14.5bn), with most of the money coming from Silver Lake fundraising.
Founder and chief executive Michael Dell, who owns 15 per cent of the company, is contributing equity to the deal, while Microsoft’s investment is set to be around $2bn, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Silver Lake and Microsoft have a working history, having co-operated on Microsoft’s $8.5bn purchase of video calling service Skype in 2011, and a failed attempt to buy a stake in Yahoo in the same year.
Shares in Dell rose to $13.12 a share, nearing the market valuation a takeover deal is estimated at. Dell and Microsoft did not comment.