Dell Software Businesses Sold To Private Equity Firms

Dell Software, which includes Quest, SonicWall, and Statistica, is being snapped up by private equity firms for a reported price of more than $2 billion. The selloff comes as Dell positions itself for an expected October closing for its acquisition of tech giant EMC.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor

June 21, 2016

3 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: Jessica Davis/InformationWeek)</p>

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Dell is selling off its software business, including Quest Software, SonicWall, and the Statistica analytics platform, to private equity firms Elliot Management and Francisco Partners. The deal comes as Dell works to complete its acquisition of technology giant EMC Corp, a deal which is expected to close by the end of October.

Reports say the Dell Software sale is valued at more than $2 billion and includes Dell Software's security, systems and information management, and data analytics solutions. However, a statement issued by Elliot Management and Dell confirming the deal only mentions two of the Dell Software brands by name -- Quest Software and SonicWall -- perhaps indicating these are considered by the buyers to be the acquisition's crown jewels.

In an email to InformationWeek, a Dell spokesperson confirmed Statistica is part of the sale. Dell plans to retain Boomi, a cloud-based software integration and management technology, the Dell spokesperson told InformationWeek in a separate email. Other Dell Software brands include Toad, Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise, and Toad Business Intelligence Suite.

[Worried about keeping secure in the cloud? Read 7 Ways Cloud Computing Propels IT Security.]

Francisco Partners CEO Dipanjan ("DJ") Deb said, in a prepared statement:

Quest Software and SonicWall provide mission-critical software to a large and loyal base of over 180,000 customers, and we see significant opportunity to build upon the company's impressive technology and product portfolio.

In the same statement, Brian Decker, head of security investing at Francisco Partners, said:

We see a tremendous growth opportunity for these businesses. Network security and identity and access management are increasingly strategic imperatives for enterprises and we are thrilled to support the continued product innovation of Quest Software and SonicWall in these areas.

Dell has been working to restructure itself as it prepares to ingest tech giant EMC by selling assets to raise funds to help pay for $67 billion deal.

In March, Dell sold its IT consulting division Perot Systems for more than $3 billion to Japan's NTT Data Corp. In April, Dell's SecureWorks went public. (Dell competitor Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently announced plans to sell off its IT consulting business in a spin-merge deal that will combine HPE's consulting arm with another IT consulting giant, CSC, in its own effort to slim down and restructure to compete in a transformed market.)

Dell Software currently includes a range of technologies, such as advanced analytics, database management, performance management, and application and data integration. Many of these are technologies Dell has acquired over the past several years as it sought to diversify itself from its PC roots. For instance, Dell first announced plans to acquire SonicWall for $1.2 billion in March 2012, and the deal closed in May of that year.

Dell completed its acquisition of Quest Software in September 2012 in a deal then valued at $2.4 billion.

Dell acquired predictive analytics software provider StatSoft in March 2014.

These acquisitions happened under the leadership of Dell's Software president, John Swainson, who was hired by the company in February 2012. Dell appears to have changed course in the wake of the EMC deal.

Dell announced its plans to acquire technology giant EMC Corp for $67 billion in October 2015. The deal is the largest technology industry acquisition to date. It's also a major milestone in a transformation taking place among traditional technology giants as they seek to compete in a challenging new marketplace.

Last year, Wired declared EMC, along with Dell, HP, and Cisco among the walking dead of the tech vendor world.

About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Senior Editor

Jessica Davis is a Senior Editor at InformationWeek. She covers enterprise IT leadership, careers, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, and enterprise software. She has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology. Follow her on twitter: @jessicadavis.

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