Dell sells software unit to streamline operations ahead of planned merger with EMC

The sale of the unit will help Dell make good on its commitment to shed non-core assets as it nears completion of its purchase of EMC.
The sale of the unit will help Dell make good on its commitment to shed non-core assets as it nears completion of its purchase of EMC. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO/HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Dell Inc agreed to sell its software unit to buyout firm Francisco Partners Management and the new private equity arm of hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, streamlining the company ahead of its planned merger with EMC Corp.

The sale of the unit, which is focused on advanced analytics, database management and data protection, will help Dell make good on its commitment to shed non-core assets as it nears completion of its US$67 billion purchase of EMC.

Terms weren't provided in the statement released Monday. Francisco and Elliott are paying slightly more than US$2 billion for Dell's software assets, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The competitive auction included private equity firm Thoma Bravo, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Quest Software and SonicWall are among the software assets being acquired, and both were bought by Dell in 2012, the year before the computer maker was taken private.

Thoma Bravo sold security software company SonicWall to Dell. A representative of Thoma Bravo declined to comment.

Chief executive officer and founder Michael Dell agreed to buy EMC in October to broaden the company's product lineup from servers to storage devices amid intensifying competition.

Dell, which has said it will add about US$50 billion in debt to get the EMC deal done, expects the purchase to close between June and October, people familiar with the matter have said.

Dell finished raising all of the cash it needs for the EMC purchase a few weeks ago when it sold US$3.25 billion of junk bonds, coming after a US$20 billion offering of investment-grade debt.

The sale of the software group is Dell's latest ahead of its combination with EMC and as it pushes its transformation since its own buyout in 2013.

NTT Data Corp, a unit of Japan's former telephone monopoly, agreed to buy Dell's information-technology services businesses for US$3.06 billion in March. A month later, Dell took its cybersecurity company SecureWorks Corp public, raising US$112 million.

EMC has also sought to sell its Documentum business as part of a plan with Dell to divest more than US$6 billion in assets.