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You can't bring up M&A activity right now without mentioning
Dell(DELL). The $25 billion PC maker is undergoing considerable drama after CEO Michael Dell announced that he'd like to take the firm private for $13.65 per share. Not to be outdone, two new suitors stepped up --
BlackStone Group(BX) and
Carl Icahn -- offering as much as $15 per share.
Why the battle over shares in this computer stock? For starters, Dell has been making some big changes to its business in recent years. While the firm's PC business is the most well-known part of the company, the firm has been refocused on the enterprise IT hardware and services market, a business that's ballooned to more than a quarter of Dell's total revenues. If Dell can prove to big-spending enterprise customers that it has best-in-breed solutions, the firm should be able to fuel margin growth and carve out a more defensible position.
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Financially, Dell is in stellar shape, boasting more than $6 billion in net cash on its balance sheet. That huge cash position adds considerable risk mitigation to an offer on Dell. After all, it accounts for almost $3.50 per share of the firm's price. While there's still a lot of negotiation ahead before a deal gets settled on, the fact that a material discount is priced into shares alongside the potential for current owners retaining equity in two scenarios makes Dell an interesting -- and potentially lucrative -- M&A deal to watch this month.