For Dell buyout panel, a long road to get to this point

While the outcome of the proposed Dell Inc. buyout remains uncertain, it already has been a long and hard-fought process.  A proxy statement filed with securities regulators Friday showed that the special committee of Dell’s board pushed hard over 16 weeks of negotiations to secure a series of higher bids from California-based Silver Lake Partners, the financial partner to founder and CEO Michael Dell in the buyout deal, which was approved by the company’s board Feb. 5.  During that portion of the journey, two other unnamed investment groups looked at making bids for the company, but they withdrew. That left Silver Lake, which threatened to walk away from the deal at least once and later insisted on bringing in Microsoft Corp., Dell Inc.’s largest software supplier, as lender to the deal.

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