UPDATE 1-Dell explores IPO or potential merger with VMware

(Adds details, updates VMware shares)

Feb 2 (Reuters) - Computer maker Dell Technologies Inc said on Friday it is evaluating a potential public offering of its common stock or a combination with business software provider VMware Inc.

Any potential deal could help the company keep up in a fiercely competitive storage market, as cloud-based rivals such as Amazon.com Inc's AWS and Microsoft Corp's Azure put pressure on prices.

In a filing, Dell ruled out a sale of itself or VMware, in which it owns an 80 percent stake, to a third party. (http://bit.ly/2DV54Tk)

Reuters reported on Thursday that Dell planned to review a possible reverse merger with VMware, as well as other options, including an IPO or asset sales.

Dell, the world's largest privately held technology company, has been under pressure to boost profits and is seeking new avenues for growth.

The PC market, which Dell CEO Michael Dell helped shape by founding Dell in 1984 as a college freshman with $1,000 in savings, has remained stagnant due to the popularity of smart phones and tablets.

Dell, which bought data storage provider EMC Corp for $67 billion in 2016, delisted from the Nasdaq five years ago, when private equity firm Silver Lake helped founder Michael Dell's $24.9 billion deal in 2013 to take the company private.

The company said on Friday there could be no assurance that any potential business opportunity will be pursued.

VMware said it was "not in a position to speculate on the outcome of Dell's evaluation of potential business opportunities."

Sources told Reuters that VMware was likely to form a special committee to consider a combination with Dell.

VMware is 80 percent-owned by Dell, so the special committee is likely to be tasked with safeguarding the interests of VMware minority shareholders, the sources added.

Shares of VMware, which has a market capitalization of $50.7 billion, were down 1 percent in early trade on Friday. (Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)