Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

On-Again Off-Again Talks Between Dell and Quest Are on Again

There must be something funny in the water that tech bankers are drinking today. First we have unconfirmed but totally plausible rumors and reports that Yammer is about to become part of Microsoft. Now we have word that Dell is back to the negotiating table for Quest Software.

Reuters is reporting that Dell is the “strategic bidder” that Quest said had offered it $25.50 a share. We sort of knew that already. In May, chatty bankers whispered to Bloomberg News that Dell was on the deal-making hunt again, and that Quest, which makes software tools for managing enterprise IT systems, was in its sights and said to be offering as much as $26 a share.

Offered $23 a share to go private last month by Insight Venture Partners, Dell and Quest came together during the go-shop period, but talks were reported to have broken down on June 1. Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t.

Insight and Quest have a history. The venture capital/private equity firm helped Quest go public in 1999. Something tells me that we’ve not yet heard the last from Insight yet.

And Quest is right in the wheelhouse of the enterprise-y emphasis that Dell wants to focus on. We’ll see.

If it gets competitive, it will be interesting to see how badly Dell actually wants Quest. Dell has been known to lose out on enterprise deals in recent memory. Last year, CEO Michael Dell grumped during a TV interview in Davos that Hewlett-Packard “paid way too much” for 3Par, a storage company that HP acquired for $2.4 billion in 2010 and was the subject of an epic three-week bidding war with — you guessed it — Dell. Having lost the fight for 3Par, Dell spent $960 million for Compellent instead.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik