Dell sells IT services business to NTT Data for $4bn

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Dell sells IT services business to NTT Data for $4bn

Effort to trim debt for EMC buy.

Japan's NTT Data has agreed to buy Dell's information technology consulting division for over US$3 billion (A$4 billion) to expand in North America and bolster its services business.

The move will allow US computer maker Dell to trim some of the US$43 billion in debt it is taking on to fund its pending cash-and-stock acquisition of data storage provider EMC, a deal worth close to US$60 billion.

The Japanese company said it would pay around US$3.05 billion, an amount that excludes debt and unspecified advisory fees.

The sale will also offer NTT Data, one of the world's largest technology services companies, a bigger foothold in the United States, where it is looking to expand in healthcare IT, insurance and financial services consulting.

Dell has also made progress in syndicating US$10 billion of its financing package for the EMC acquisition dubbed 'term loan A', people familiar with the situation said earlier.

This is expected to be increased in size by US$500 million to US$750 million due to strong demand, with the extra money to be used to downsize some of the more expensive tranches of the remaining US$33 billion in financing, the people added.

The group of banks participating in the term loan A has been expanded from the original eight underwriters to 25, with more expected to join before the syndication is completed in the next week, the people said.

Formerly known as Perot Systems, Dell's IT services division is a major provider of technology consulting to hospitals and government departments. Founded in 1988 by former US presidential candidate Ross Perot, it was acquired by Dell in 2009 for US$3.9 billion.

However, Dell has since divested some of the unit's operations and integrated some others, which it is not including in the sale. Some of the unit's capabilities were seen by Dell as redundant in the wake of the acquisition of EMC.

Dell has also been speaking to private equity firms about selling Quest Software, which helps with IT management, as well as SonicWall, an email encryption and data security provider. Together, Quest and SonicWall could be worth up to US$4 billion.

Dell's acquisition of EMC, which is backed by founder and CEO Michael Dell as well as private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, is subject to approval by EMC shareholders. EMC is expected to hold a shareholder vote on the Dell deal in May, allowing for the transaction to be completed sometime between July and October.

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Copyright (c) 2009 Australian Associated Press

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