The odds that Michael Dell will be able to buy back his namesake company have just gotten a lot better, sources tell Reuters, because Blackstone Group has dropped its bid for the PC company. Blackstone said it was pulling out in light of a 14% industry-wide dip in PC sales in the first quarter, and a lower income forecast from Dell itself. Its departure leaves Carl Icahn as the only remaining rival to Michael Dell and private equity partner Silver Lake.
Analysts have long seen Icahn's bid as the weakest of the three, but there's enough opposition among Dell shareholders to the Dell/Silver Lake deal that he might still have a shot. Whereas Dell and Silver Lake want to take the company private, both Icahn and Blackstone were proposing leveraged deals in which the company would take on debt and remain at least partially publicly traded. Icahn's deal would pay $15 a share for 58% of the company, while Dell/Silver Lake is offering $13.65 a share.