Computer maker Dell has announced a deal to acquire computer services company Perot Systems for a whopping $3.9 billion. Perot Systems—founded by two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot—is a major IT technology and business solutions providers, helping companies manage operations and internal systems in order to meet their business goals and increase the efficiency of their operations. Dell plans to offer $30 in cash for all outstanding Class A shares of Perot Systems; the deal represents a 67.5 percent premium over Perot Systems’ recent market value—indicating Dell strongly believes the business will do well going forward.
Dell plans to set up Perot Systems as its own services unit, offering IT integration, development, and consulting services to major clients like government agencies, enterprises, health care organizations, and small- and medium-sized businesses. In addition to developing, deploying, and maintaining systems, software-as-a-server offerings, and offering infrastructure services, Dell sees the acquisition as an opportunity to move Dell hardware onto the desktops and into the server rooms of Perot Systems customers.
“We consider Perot Systems to be a premium asset with great people that enhances our opportunities for immediate and long-term growth,” said Dell CEO Michael Dell, in a statement. “This significantly expands Dell’s enterprise-solutions capabilities and makes Perot Systems’ strengths available to even more customers around the world. There will be efficiencies from combining the companies, but the acquisition makes such great sense because of the obvious ways our businesses complement each other.”
Companies that make high-tech hardware have always faced a bit of a dilemma: as processors get faster, memory gets cheaper, and new technologies come along, their gear has a very short life span in the marketplace, and they constantly have to invest in R&D to make new gear. That’s one reason so many companies look to get into the technology services market: getting paid to help folks their constantly-changing information technology and hardware is a slightly safer game than making the hardware itself.
Dell expects the acquisition to start contributing to the company’s bottom line in 2012. Current Perot Systems CEO Peter Altabef will become the head of Dell’s services unit; Dell also expects to consider Perot Systems; chairman Ross Perot, Jr. for a seat on Dell’s board of directors.