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VC firm asked Mark Hurd if he wants to run Dell - report

Hasn't even made a bid for Michael's shop yet

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Former disgraced HP chief Mark Hurd is the man VC Blackstone would plonk at the top of Dell should it scupper a bid by Michael Dell and chums to take the enterprise tech firm private again.

This is according to a report by Bloomberg, which states Blackstone is considering matching the $24.4bn offered by Dell the man and his private equity partner Silver Lake Management LLC.

Quoting loquacious sources close to the matter, Hurd has not yet been formally approached - indeed no rival bid has even been lodged.

But should he get the call, Hurd has intimate knowledge of Dell. After all, he competed with the computer-maker aggressively during his time at HP when he retook the PC crown and acquired EDS and 3Com.

Hurd also slashed R&D, taking the shine off HP's innovative side, and left the business under a cloud in 2010, resigning after a personal relationship with former contractor and soft porn model Jodie Fisher was found to be in violation of HP's standards of business conduct.

As one door slammed, another opened, with perma-tanned playboy Larry Ellison waiting with open arms to welcome him on board.

Creaking computer-maker Dell opened up on plans to go private last month. In the subsequent weeks, Southeastern Asset Management, the second-largest Dell shareholder (8.4 per cent stake) behind Michael, branded the $24.4bn bid as "woefully inadequate".

Third-largest shareholder T Rowe Price (4.4 per cent stake) agreed the buy-out did not reflect the full value of Dell, saying, "We do not intend to support the offer as put forward".

It also emerged that activist investor Carl Icahn, who bought up Dell shares during February, also opposed the bid, though he has since agreed to keep talks with Dell confidential.

And yet another investor, Longleaf Partner Fund, voiced "deep disappointment" with Dell's board and its "failure to implement a transaction that would maximise shareholder value".

Dell bit back, saying it had measured alternatives to the leveraged buy-out but Michael and Silver Lake's offer was the best option.

HP and Lenovo were rumoured to have taken a look under the hood but took it no further.

Interestingly, Blackstone lured former M&A chief David Johnson from Dell in January and he is currently senior MD in the private equity group.

The so-called "go shop" period under which the company can solicit offers from parties ends tomorrow. ®

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