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Friday, January 18, 2013

Daily Report: Michael Dell\'s Empire in a Buyout Spotlight

Michael Dell has quietly built a reputation as one of the smartest investors on Wall Street. By amassing a prodigious portfolio of stocks, companies, real estate and timberland worth over $16 billion, Mr. Dell has reduced his exposure to the volatile technology sector and branched out into businesses as diverse as dentistry and landscaping through his MSD Capital arm, writes Peter Lattman in The New York Times.

Now, Mr. Dell is on the verge of making one of the biggest investments of his life. The 47-year-old billionaire and his private equity backers are locked in talks to acquire Dell, the company he started with $1,000 as a teenager three decades ago, in a leveraged buyout worth more than $20 billion. MSD could play a role in the Dell takeover, according to people briefed on the deal.

Mr. Dell would be expected to roll his nearly 16 percent ownership of the company into the buyout, a stake value at about $3.5 billion. He could also contribute additional personal money as part of the buyout.

MSD investments include a stock portfolio, with positions in the apparel company PVH, owner of the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, and DineEquity, the parent of IHOP and Applebee’s.

Among its real estate holdings are the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Hawaii and a stake in the New York-based developer Related Companies.

MSD also has investments in several private businesses, including ValleyCrest, which bills itself as the country’s largest landscape design company, and DentalOne Partners, a collection of dental practices.