Dell buyout intrigue heightens as deadline looms

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE | March 21, 2013 | 6:29 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Michael Dell is about to find out if other bidders think his company is worth more than he does.

The answer could come Friday. It marks the end of a 45-day period that Dell Inc.'s board of directors settled on to allow for offers that might top a Feb. 5 agreement to sell the PC maker to CEO Michael Dell and a group of investors for $24.4 billion.

Blackstone Group is emerging as a likely candidate to trump the current bid of $13.65 per share.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Blackstone is so intrigued with the prospect of owning Dell that the firm has been courting former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd to run Dell if it decides to mount a hostile takeover attempt.