Sun, Jun 03, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Dell talks to buy Quest break down, sources say

Reuters

Negotiations for Dell Inc to acquire Quest Software Inc have broken off, but lower-level representatives from both companies remain in touch, two sources familiar with the matter said.

A previous deal for Dell to buy Quest at a range US$23 to US$26 per share fell through last month. Dell has been seeking to diversify its business away from personal computer hardware.

Talks on the all-cash offer had been tenuous between the two companies, said one of the sources, who did not elaborate on the reason for the break-off.

Shares of Quest closed down 5.04 percent at US$23.74 following the news of the deal breakdown.

Quest had agreed in March to be acquired by Insight Venture Partners for US$2 billion, or US$23 a share, and taken private. However, the Aliso Viejo, California-based company said it received multiple offers during a so-called go-shop period after the Insight deal was announced, raising questions whether Insight Venture’s bid would be successful.

Insight Venture Partners has the right to match rival offers.

Dell and Quest declined to comment on Friday.

Quest — which makes software to monitor the flow of data through networks — and Dell have worked together since 2004 and is one of Dell’s top 10 partners. Dell is one of Quest’s top five partners.

Acquiring Quest would help Dell be a bigger player in database management, data protection and Windows Server management.

For any deal to be accepted by Quest, a special committee in the company has to determine that the rival offer was superior to the Insight Venture offer.

Any deal with Quest is also fraught with complications as roughly 34 percent of Quest is owned by chairman and chief executive Vinny Smith, who took over in February after Doug Garn stepped down, citing poor health.

At least four shareholders have filed lawsuits after the deal with Insight Venture was announced in March, arguing the deal undervalued Quest. Such lawsuits are typical after merger deals.

One lawsuit alleges that Quest’s CEO, Smith, rushed to sell the company to head off a possible regulatory probe into accounting practices.

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