Dell grabs Perot for $4 bn

Box-shifter Dell has snapped up government IT contractor Perot Systems for $3.9 billion in cash, the companies said today. Perot will become a Dell services unit.

Dell plans to spend $30 per share, quite a bit – 67 percent – higher than Perot’s Friday closing price of $17.91 and the deal is set to be completed before Dell’s fiscal fourth quarter ends in January.

Dell said the takeover ‘will help it provide a wider range of services to its customers’. Perot is owned by billionaire Ross Perot who ran for US president as an independent candidate in 1992 and 1996.

“We consider Perot Systems to be a premium asset with great people that enhances our opportunities for immediate and long-term growth. This significantly expands Dell’s enterprise-solutions capabilities and makes Perot Systems’ strengths available to even more customers around the world,” said CEO Michael Dell.

Falling margins on PCs have hit Dell’s bottom line hard, with quarterly sales down 22 percent to $12.76 billion from $16.43 billion a year ago. Expansion into the megabuck world of government contracts obviously looks an attractive prospect to the company, else it wouldn’t have delved down the back of the sofa and pulled out $4 billion in loose change to clinch the deal.

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