ASAP Software -- a subsidiary of Corporate Express -- offers services and tools to help businesses manage their computing infrastructures and software assets. For instance, its eSmart software suite lets users keep tabs on their IT inventories and track license compliance.
ASAP employs about 600 people.
Dell said it will merge the company's operations into its software business. "Merging Dell's software business with ASAP is part of our effort to reinvent and simplify the way our customers get access to IT," said Dell Americas president Paul Bell, in a statement.
ASAP recently partnered with Digital China to bring its products and services into the Chinese market. It also recently struck a partnership with Softbank Commerce Korea in an effort to expand into the Korean market. It wasn't clear if Dell plans to maintain those and other partnerships ASAP has in place.
Dell officials declined to comment on the deal.
Dell is acquiring ASAP relatively cheaply. ASAP's 2006 sales were about $1.1 billion, meaning that Dell is paying a revenue multiple of just 0.31. By contrast, Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay a revenue multiple of 16 to acquire Opsware for $1.6 billion.
In a statement, Corporate Express said it would use proceeds from the sale of ASAP for debt reduction.
Dell typically shies away from acquisitions, though the company has made some relatively small deals in recent quarters. Earlier this month, it agreed to acquire privately held SilverBack Technologies, a developer of remote IT monitoring and management services. In November, Dell acquired U.K.-based IT application-management services company ACS. In March of 2006, the company bought out Alienware, a maker of high-end gaming systems.
Providing software and services helps Dell boost profits beyond what's available from its low-margin PC business. Software and peripherals account for about 16% of Dell's total revenue, while services account for about 9%.
Dell said it expects the ASAP deal, which remains subject to regulatory approval, to close in its fiscal third quarter.