Dell is exploring a reverse merger with VMware, which could become the largest tech deal ever, according to CNBC. The report does mention that Dell is unlikely to sell the company outright or even part with its stake in VMware.
A public offering would add to a growing list of big tech companies preparing to go public in 2018.
Shares of VMware were down 9% on the report, which cited anonymous sources and noted that Dell is also considering other strategic options.
The Wall Street Journal said Dell is in early stage discussions with VMware, a cloud infrastructure company with a $55.7-billion market cap, to purchase its remaining stake.
The buyout or IPO, which would come just years after the company went private in 2013, could bring in enough cash to pay down $51 billion in debt.
The Round Rock, Texas-based company, headed by its founder Michael Dell, is under pressure to boost its profitability after the EMC deal failed to deliver the cost savings and performance it projected, while higher component costs and a challenging data storage market have eroded its margins. Since then, Dell has transformed its business, reducing its focus on selling personal computers, and turned itself into a provider of backend software and services for datacenters and corporations.
Still, after four years of revamping the business, Silver Lake may be looking to monetize the investment it made in Dell in order to take it private.
If a reverse merger happens it would see VMware issue shares to Michael Dell and Silver Lake, the current owners of Dell. The company did not respond to a request for comment outside of regular US business hours. VMware did not immediately return a request for comment.