Bloomberg is reporting that Blackstone Group has submitted a preliminary offer to buy Dell. Citing a "person familiar with the matter," the publication says the bid commits Blackstone to hold takeover discussions with the Texas computer giant. Company founder Michael Dell is currently attempting to gain shareholder approval for a deal that would see him take Dell off the market and back into private hands. Michael Dell's $24.4 billion privatization plan involves a large personal investment, as well as cash from equity firms and a $2 billion Microsoft loan.
Since the deal was made public, detractors have said that the $24.4 billion valuation of the company is too low, and major investors have signalled their intent to vote against the offer. Business magnate Carl Icahn, who reportedly owns a six percent share in the company, is rumored to be planning a rival bid of his own. Bloomberg's anonymous source says Dell has until Tuesday to respond to Blackstone's preliminary offer.
Update: It looks as though Dell will be the subject of an intense bidding war. The Wall Street Journal reports that both Blackstone and Icahn have notified the Dell board that they are "working on firm bids" for the company, with the bids expected to be made by Tuesday.