Chanos: I'm Short Dell, Puzzled by Deal Talk

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Hedge fund titan Jim Chanos told CNBC on Thursday that he's short Dell stock and wonders if the potential deal-makers circling the troubled personal computer maker are looking at the company's balance sheet and cash flow statement.

"I don't think they're looking at the numbers," the founder of Kynikos Associates said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

"We are short Dell. We covered our [previous] Dell short in single digits last year. And we shorted it [again in 2013] into the deal," Chanos said, referring to the $24 billion leveraged buyout effort led by founder Michael Dell to take his company private.

(Read More: Shorting Stocks—CNBC Explains)

Facing some shareholder opposition to that plan, a special committee has been appointed by the Dell board to conduct, what it calls, a "robust go-shop process" to look at other alternatives.

(Read More: Dell 'Welcomes' Carl Icahn to Go-Shop Process)

And on Thursday, Dell said it welcomed activist investor Carl Icahn, who's built up a 100 million share, or 6 percent, stake in the company. He wants the company to conduct a leveraged recapitalization.

(Read More: CNBC Sources Says Icahn Built Up a 6% Stake in Dell)

Chanos, a well-know short-seller, said on CNBC, "I'm puzzled here. Are people looking at the balance sheet and the cash flow statement of this company?"

"Looking at the balance sheet at the end of January, Dell had positive working capital plus receivables and long-term investments of about $8 billion," he said. "They had long-term liabilities of $13 billion. So it's a negative number before we get to the equity."

Chanos added, "The business [at Dell] is not doing well at all. The cash flow is plummeting."

"The problem with the Dell model is you get paid up front," he continued, "and that's a great model when business is growing because cash comes in before the payables. But as your business shrinks, it works the other way."

By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere; Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC