Laura Banks
0
All posts from Laura Banks
Laura Banks in Markets and everything in & between!,

Dell discussing merger with EMC, sources say

Deal involving $50B storage company could vie for largest tech combination in history


Dell Inc. is in talks to strike a combination with EMC Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would remove questions about EMC’s future that have hung over the data-storage giant for more than a year.

It’s unclear whether the two technology-industry heavyweights are discussing a full or partial takeover of EMC, and it’s possible no deal will be reached. EMCEMC, -0.48% has been considering a number of options since The Wall Street Journal reported it was doing a strategic review last year, and other options could still be on the table.

Analysts have said it would make sense for Dell, which was taken private in a landmark leveraged buyout in 2013, to buy EMC’s big data-storage operation, but there are various ways it could go about doing so, including a full takeover followed by a spin off.

EMC has a market capitalization of $50 billion, meaning that any such deal could rank as one of the largest tech-industry mergers. Chip maker Avago Technologies Ltd.’s pending $37 billion agreement to buy Broadcom Corp. is the largest pure-tech takeover ever struck. There has been a raft of tech and other takeovers this year, and merger volume overall is running at a near-record pace. Still, market volatility could slow down the overall merger market and pose a threat to the EMC-Dell talks, one of the people cautioned.

EMC has been under pressure to boost its lagging stock since last year, when activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. took a roughly 2% stake in the company and urged it to spin off its VMware Inc. VMW, -5.84% unit. EMC owns 80% of VMware, which has a market value of $34 billion. A standstill struck in January between Elliott and Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC that had barred the fund from publicly pressuring EMC expired last month. Elliott has since stayed quiet.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.