Michael Dell has decided to pour some of the multi-billion dollar personal fortune he has wrapped up in his PC company into other businesses.
Dell has established MSD Capital Limited Partnership to direct his personal investments, and US reports speculate that he could be funding the company to the sum of $1 billion.
Neither Dell, the PC vendor nor MSD Capital would confirm the figure, but Dell has accumulated $1 billion this year by selling some of his shares in the PC maker.
According to the latest Security and Exchange Commission filings made by the firm, its chairman and founder still owns 16 per cent of Dell Computer, which at today's stock price values his equity at approximately $14 billion.
However, The Washington Service, which tracks insider buying and selling, said Dell sold 4 per cent of his holdings or 8 million shares from November 18-25 to raise $517.1 million. This means he has raised some $1.18 billion in total this year.
But a Dell Computer spokeswoman said Dell was an extremely private individual and was unlikely to make any statements about where he was investing his fortune, although she added that he had previously announced his intention to diversify his interests away from the PC supplier.
While US newspapers speculated that Dell would enter the venture capital arena with MSD Capital, the organisation?s location in Manhattan, New York, and not in the high-tech hotbeds of Silicon Valley and Boston, indicate that he may be taking a more conservative approach.
Little is known about Dell's investment track record to date other than his partial funding of successful start-ups such as Jato in the networking arena, chip company, Rambus, and education software company, Knowledge Adventure.
And it is believed that MSD has made a dozen investments so far this year.
However, the spokeswoman said that Dell Computer had strict conflict of interest policies, so investments by its chairman or any other executive could not influence its procurement decisions.
Unlike a growing number of major high tech vendors, the PC supplier has not made investments in start-ups.
According to the spokeswoman, this is because did not want to be diverted from managing growth in its core business. Dell, which recently reported 50 per cent growth year on year, with revenues of $4.8 billion for its latest quarter, has told analysts that it is going for a similar percentage growth in 1999.
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