Can two storied tech giants combine forces to recapture market dominance? That’s Michael Dell’s $65 billion gamble, and it has certainly captured the industry’s attention.
Rod Trent will be reporting from Dell World next week, but just hours after the deal people already have plenty to say.
Fortune’s Allan Murray and BetaBoston’s Scott Kirsner both had six takeaways, with Murray more focused on the Dell side and Kirsner on the EMC implications. Both outline the big challenges ahead for the combined company that will operate under Michael Dell’s leadership.
“Michael Dell is transforming Dell from a consumer electronics company into a massive business equipment and services company, designed to help other companies navigate the new industrial revolution,” Murray writes. “He is doing this at a time when other technology companies – H-P, eBay – are splitting apart, or are under pressure to split apart. Companies are splitting for two reasons – to satisfy investors who want more focused investments, and to allow for more focused management.”
As a private company, Dell will theoretically have a more understanding, long-term-focused board to answer to, but the big question remains of how will Michael Dell, as the chief executive of both companies, keep them focused on a way that will bring long-term growth?
“Remember when Compaq, the Houston-based PC giant, bought Mass.-based Digital Equipment, the once-pioneering maker of minicomputers for businesses, in 1998? This deal has obvious echoes of that one,” writes Kirsner. “Compaq was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard, which is now separating itself into two companies and shedding tens of thousands of jobs.”
For now, however, Dell is stating that the value of the merger won’t come from cut jobs, and that ultimately it will be a good thing for employees:
Asked about the impact on Mass. jobs, Michael Dell says EMC buyout should grow the overall business.— Curt Woodward (@curtwoodward) October 12, 2015
That doesn’t mean all EMC staffers will be happy about the new boss:
Seem to remember a bunch of Dell employees leaving for EMC a couple years back. "Just when I thought I was out - they pull me back in"— Rod Trent (@rodtrent) October 12, 2015
One interesting thing to note is that there’s a 30-day window in which someone can make a counter-offer and call the whole thing off. Given the premium already on the table, that seems unlikely.
HP and Oracle, two of the most likely counter-bidders, both made clear they were not interested. Not surprising, given HP’s history of challenges with large acquisitions:
HP on Dell/EMC merger: It will destroy them as surely as our own outsize acquisitions destroyed us https://t.co/M1hY9kUQ1Q— Christopher Mims (@mims) October 12, 2015
But given the shifting landscape, maybe it’s only a matter of time before all the old tech titans become one:
Why don't IBM, HP, EMC, Dell and Cisco all merge and get this thing over with?— Ashlee Vance (@valleyhack) October 8, 2015
What do you think? Let us know in our latest poll or in the comments below.
- BetaBoston is a former employer of mine, and Scott Kirsner a former colleague.