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Clock on Dell Deal Down to a Stopwatch

The only alternative bruited so far is rumored to come from private equity house Blackstone

Anybody prepared to make an offer for Dell that's superior to the $24.4 billion bid Michael Dell and private equity house Silver Lake Partners put on the table February 5 intending to take the joint private has to come out of the woodwork by 12:01am Texas time Saturday morning when the 45-day go-shop proviso expires.

The only alternative bruited so far is rumored to come from private equity house Blackstone.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that it was trying to put an offer together with GE Capital to buy Dell's $3.5 billion financial services business, which would be complicated and leave the rest of the company limping.

Blackstone is also reportedly talking to TPG, another private equity house, about acquiring Dell.

Mid-day Thursday CNBC had taken the position that Blackstone wasn't going to make a move leaving Michael Dell to convince his shareholders to sanction his plan. That report sent Dell's stock down but at $14.14 a share it's still optimistically above the offer price.

If Michael Dell's deal is the only one in town what happens with Carl Icahn's ultimaturm? And what happens if shareholders reject going private? Does Michael stick around?

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Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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