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Dell CEO says he considered taking company private

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Dell Inc CEO Michael Dell, who is more than three years into a turnaround effort at the world’s third-largest PC maker, said he had considered taking the company private.

Speaking at a Sanford C Bernstein & Co conference in New York on Thursday, Dell declined to say what would prompt him to make the move.

He said he had “every intention” of continuing to run the company and that growth-revival plans had not come to fruition.

“This transformation is incomplete,” Dell, 45, said. “If I had to give it a grade, I’d give it an incomplete.”

Dell retook the CEO position in 2007 after the company lost the top ranking in PC sales. He has made more than 10 acquisitions and is eliminating jobs to spur earnings growth and diversify beyond PCs, which account for more than half of revenue.

The company’s turnaround has been hampered by rising costs for such components as memory and LCDs. Gross profit margins have narrowed for two straight quarters, eroding the benefits of a rebound in business demand.

The company will continue to pursue acquisitions, with large deals less likely, and keep hiring salespeople, especially specialists in the services and storage markets that Dell is working to expand, he said.

Service accounts for about 13 percent of Dell’s revenue, while storage represents about 4 percent.

Dell’s acquisitions include the US$3.9 billion buyout of services provider Perot Systems Corp. Since his return, Dell has also announced plans to cut more than 10,000 jobs and outsource 53 percent of production as he shut factories to save money.

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