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Dell pays 68% premium for Perot to expand in health technology

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Dell Inc.’s proposed $3.9 billion buyout of Perot Systems Corp. reflects the second-largest personal-computer maker’s ambitions in the market for healthcare information technology.

‘The Perot deal offers them plenty of opportunities in the healthcare and federal space,’ said Paul Roehrig, an analyst at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research Inc. ‘Dell can build a leaner, commodity-based services offering to be an interesting competitor.’

With Perot, founded by former U.S. presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, Dell gains a partner to boost sales of computer services as consumers and companies trim PC purchases to cope with the economic slump. Larger services units helped International Business Machines Corp. and Hewlett-Packard withstand the recession better than Dell, whose sales slumped 22 percent last quarter.

Perot, whose customers include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gets about half of sales from hospitals, physicians’ practices and health-insurance companies. President Barack Obama’s plan to expand health-care insurance coverage to virtually all Americans, if passed by Congress, could boost Perot’s healthcare-related business.

Electronic Health Records

Tighter budgets for hospitals and a shift to electronic health records also will bolster Perot’s sales, according to Reik Read, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee. The U.S. economic stimulus bill included $20 billion to upgrade health-care information technology, Read said in a report.

Dell’s services business will generate annual sales of about $8 billion and the deal will probably boost profit in fiscal 2012, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said yesterday. Hewlett-Packard’s services revenue was $22.4 billion in 2008, and IBM’s was $58.9 billion.

‘It doesn’t necessarily make them a contender to IBM and HP,’ said Dane Anderson, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut- based Gartner Inc. ‘It’s digestible from a size perspective and brings them to a level where they can compete.’

‘We’ve had services capability and we’ve been trying to grow that organically,’ Paul Prince, chief technology officer for Dell’s enterprise group, said yesterday in an interview. ‘It’s pretty clear that we felt like customers were looking for a bigger picture, bigger solution at a faster pace than we could have done just by growing it organically.’

 

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