ROUND ROCK, Texas — Dell is buying Quest Software for US$2.4 billion to expand its offerings as its personal computer business weakens in an era of smartphones and sleeker devices like the iPad.
The deal announced Monday capped off a bidding war that began last month when Quest revealed a mystery suitor had made an offer trumping a US$2 billion sale that had been worked out with Insight Venture Partners in March. The secret bidder turned out to be Dell Inc., the second largest PC maker in the U.S. behind Hewlett-Packard Co.
Dell prizes Quest primarily for its nearly 1,300 engineers and its stable of software designed for businesses and government agencies. In particular, Dell is counting on Quest to help sell more servers, networking and storage products and computing services — all of which are typically more profitable than PCs these days.
Selling PCs is also getting more difficult as consumers increasingly rely on smartphones and tablets to fulfill their computing needs.
Driven by market conditions, both Dell and HP have been software and technology services companies to expand beyond PCs and plumb the more fertile territory of advising big companies and government agencies on how to manage their computing needs.
Quest is Dell’s biggest acquisition since it bought technology consulting firm Perot Systems for US$3.9 billion in 2009.