Interesting news. Dell’s going private in a stock buy back of $24.4 Billion (US) financed by Microsoft and the private equity firm (largest in the world) Silver Lake. Back in 2011, Silver Lake sold Skype to Microsoft profiting $5 billion (US). This turn around profit was made in 18 months, reaping a 70-80%$ internal rate of return, which was far higher than the usual rate. Microsoft purchased Skype for $8.5 billion (US). EBay also profited on the deal having 30% ownership.
“The Silver Lake-led investor group bought a majority stake in Skype from eBay in 2009 -- during the credit crisis -- for $1.9 billion in cash and a $125 million note. EBay retained about a third of the company.” - https://secure.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/11/skype-owners-silver-lake-microsoft_n_860450.html
The current deal
“is being financed by cash and equity from Michael Dell, cash from Silver Lake, cash from Michael Dell's investment firm MSD Capital, a $2 billion loan from Microsoft and debt financing from four banks.” - http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/05/us-dell-buyout-idUSBRE9140NF20130205
The deal will probably close before the end of the second quarter.
This probably means some leverage for MS and Windows 8 tablets, laptops and PC’s. It might also have to do with Google’s Chromebook doubling its penetration of schools, and it being made by Hewlett Packard. Perhaps MS is seeking to counter Google’s penetration of HP via Dell. It also has to do, I believe with the competition on Cloud services provided by Google and MS. Since Google’s netbook is a good deal cheaper than a laptop, tablets might be the answer. Dell might be part of that equation.
This is just my speculation, but it might make sense for MS to be doing this since it has been having problems convincing OEMs to produce W8 tablets to their hardware recommendations, and blamed its lackluster Windows 8 sales on that.
Anyway, don’t be surprised if Dell starts producing Windows 8 tablets which adhere to MS recommendations, as well as smart phones featuring Windows 8. Dell's business has been hurt by the lack of production of tablets and phones. Also, MS is very interested in the PC producer to prevent even more shift away from PCs to the mobile device market:
"An investment in Dell could help stabilize one of the software giant's key distributors and ensure that Microsoft has a major channel for Windows." - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324900204578285582125381660.html