The software giant is in negotiations with the company's chief executive, Michael Dell, and buyout firm Silver Lake about helping finance a deal to acquire the company, currently valued at almost $23bn, according to the CNBC network.
Microsoft has yet to make headway against Apple and Google's Android operating system in the smartphone market, and sales of portable devices are beginning to stifle the PC market, threatening its core business. The group is said to be considering spending some of its $66bn cash reserves on an investment in Dell of between $1bn and $3bn, in a deal which could be announced by the end of the week. The commitment could take the form of a loan rather than an equity stake.
Global sales of PCs fell by 13m last year, the first drop since the dotcom crash produced a temporary dip in 2001. The software group has taken stakes in other companies in the past, including Apple and, more recently Facebook. Juliette Garside
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