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Dell's Buyout D-Day Looms

Tickers in this article: CHKP DELL FTNT MSFT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Dell's(DELL) leveraged buyout is looming, according to media reports, a move that could spell good news for the struggling tech titan.

Citing people familiar with the discussions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that a deal to take Dell private could be finalized within days, adding that shareholders will be offered a price of $13 to $14 a share. On Monday CNBC reported that the buyout talks are "coming to a head" with an announcement anticipated early this week, possibly as soon as tomorrow morning. CNBC added that the deal value could be close to $13.50 a share.

Dell shares surged dramatically last month after Bloomberg reported that the No.3 PC maker was in buyout talks with private equity firms.

Deal chatter has grown even louder recently, with Dell reportedly nearing an agreement to sell itself to a buyout consortium led by CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners . Last week Reuters reported that the Dell chief is expected to take a majority ownership in the firm, with Silver Lake and Microsoft(MSFT) becoming minority investors, adding that a deal could happen today.

Dell, which has a market cap of $22.95 billion, declined to comment on this story when contacted by TheStreet.

Nonethless, a buyout would help Dell re-invent itself, say analysts, boosting its push into lucrative areas such as enterprise services. The company has suffered in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Apple's(AAPL) iPad and ongoing weakness in the PC market.

"Assuming the transaction is consummated, Michael Dell would be free to execute his turnaround without the scrutiny of the public market and his majority ownership stake would provide him flexibility to do what he sees fit in order to drive long-term value," wrote Greg Poole, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, in a note released on Monday.

"Going private would enable Dell, who has faced a reduction in PC demand, to re-invent itself away from the public eye and the pressure of shareholders," added analyst firm Canaccord Genuity, in another note.

Dell shares dipped 3.12% to $13.20 in early afternoon trading on Monday. Microsoft's stock was down 1.25% at $27.58.

Wall Street's already speculating about the possible impact of a Dell LBO on other companies in the tech sector, particularly security specialists that compete against Dell's SonicWall business.

"We believe Check Point Software (CHKP) and Fortinet(FTNT) could be near-term beneficiaries of Dell's potential takeout deal if it does eventually occur," wrote Shaul Eyal, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., in a note released on Monday. "We believe a nearterm disruption in Dell's SonicWall business given an integration process would mean potential displacements by CHKP and FTNT."

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