(By Balachander) Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) has agreed to acquire Quest Software Inc. (NASDAQ: QSFT) $28.00 per share or $2.4 billion in cash, weeks after Insight Venture Partners Tuesday sweetened its bid for the IT services company to $25.75 per share.
Following the announcement, Quest shares edged lower, while Dell stock inched higher in Monday's premarket trading.
Dell's deal represents a premium of 0.7 percent to Quest's previous closing price of $27.81.
The latest announcement from Dell confirmed market speculation that the PC maker may target California-based Quest. Dell has been on a buying spree last year snapping up companies in different verticals, as it wants to diversify itself from a hardware company to the high-margin software, security and cloud computing businesses.
Dell expects the acquisition of Quest to bolster its software offerings in systems management, security, data protection and workspace management.
Last month, Insight Venture raised its bid for Quest, which said it had received a new proposal from an unnamed strategic bidder at $25.50 a share, topping
the $23.00 a share 'going private' deal agreed upon with Insight Venture in March.
In March, Quest agreed to be taken private by Insight Venture for around $2 billion. Quest had 60 days to solicit and evaluate proposal from potential buyers. Quest had agreed to pay a break-up fee of $4.2 million to Insight during the "go-shop period". If the merger is terminated after the go-shop period, it would pay $6.3 million in break-up fee.
Quest provides IT management services that enable more than 100,000 global customers solve complex IT challenges ranging from database management, data protection, identity and access management, monitoring, user workspace management to Windows management.
In fiscal 2011, Quest's earnings per share plunged 54 percent to 49 cents from $1.06 a share last year. Total revenues rose 11.8 percent to $857.4 million. For fiscal 2012, Quest expects total revenue to grow in the range of 8.5 percent to 10 percent.
The deal is expected to be completed in Dell's third quarter ending October 2012.
Dell closed at $12.51 on Friday.