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Microsoft is considering investing $1 billion to $3 billion to help Michael Dell take his company private, according to a report issued Tuesday.

From InformationWeek:
Speculation about potential buyout partners has been circulating since Bloomberg reported Dell's intentions on Jan. 14. The news followed a rough year for the Round Rock, Texas-based company, which made a variety of noteworthy acquisitions but could not sustain enthusiasm among investors. Even with buyout rumors provoking a momentary rise in Dell's shares, the company's stock was, as of Tuesday afternoon, still down almost 30% relative to its 52-week high of $18.36.

Just over a month ago, the company had positioned Dell World as a coming out party for its new identity as an end-to-end service provider with a competitive software portfolio. Though the transition earned Dell some praise, it didn't stop the company's PC sales from declining sharply, even relative to the depressed overall market.
  Microsoft Might Invest In Dell Buyout