Blog: Dell’s private party

Opinion Christine Horton Feb 08, 2013

What effect will Dell's decision to go private have on the vendor's fortunes - and it's channel?

After weeks of rumours, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) has finally confirmed it would go private in a deal valued at $24bn.

The move is being financed by company founder Michael Dell, his investment firm MSD Capital, private equity firm Silver Lake, a $2bn loan from Microsoft and debt financing from four banks.

It’s no secret that Dell is looking to elevate itself beyond its image as a PC manufacturer. Over the last few years we’ve witnessed acquisition after acquisition as the firm looked to re-launch itself as image an enterprise player with a full stack of networking, storage and software solutions.

The feeling now among industry watchers is that the vendor will now be free to invest in its growing its enterprise business, where previously it was handcuffed by its responsibilities to its shareholders.

“The company might find it easier to create the breathing space to restructure and commit to a long-term strategy without the quarterly financial rat race,” commented analysts at IDC in response to the announcement.

One industry commentator described the move as “very exciting, as it makes Dell into the world’s biggest start up.”

(Of course, the deal has thrown up a few questions – not least of which concern how much Microsoft will remain neutral, particularly now it has a vested interest in one of its PC hardware partners.)

HP, meanwhile, has wasted no time in letting everyone know what it thought of the deal. In a statement the firm predicted “a very rough road ahead” for Dell, adding that “leveraged buyouts tend to leave existing customers and innovation at the curb.”

So what will this mean to Dell’s channel partners, if anything? In the US Dell’s channel chief Greg Davis issued a statement which said: “As Dell enters this exciting new chapter, our commitment to channel partners does not waiver. As a private enterprise, we will continue to execute our strategy of delivering best-in-class solutions and growing our channel relationships.”

Hopefully for Dell’s VARs, it means the vendor will have be freedom to innovate, and deliver a wider range of solutions for their portfolios – which is all good news. We shall, however, have to wait and see!

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