Dell-EMC: Timeline of a $67 billion deal

October 12, 2015, 12:10 PM UTC

One of the largest technology deals in history, between EMC (EMC) and Dell, was announced on Monday, October 12, 2015. News of a possible merger or acquisition between the two enterprise-tech giants initially came as a surprise to many, but the companies have been searching for a way forward for quite some time. Here’s a look at how they got here.


January: A Bloomberg report reveals that Dell has been in talks with two private-equity firms to be acquired. “My gut take is that this would be very, very difficult,” Fortune’s Dan Primack wrote.

February: Dell makes its deal with Silver Lake official. The figure? $24.4 billion.

March: Activist investor Carl Icahn acquires a significant stake in Dell.

May: Icahn presses Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners to increase the value of their deal, setting in motion a complicated, months-long fued.

September: Icahn concedes to Dell and Silver Lake.

October: Silver Lake discloses additional investment in Dell.


May: In an interview with Andy Serwer at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference, Michael Dell acknowledged “strong cash flow” and a “growing” IT services business that opened the company to a “much larger market.” (Video)

August: Onstage at the company’s annual customer conference, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger says, “Change is inevitable. Disruption is inevitable.”

October: Hewlett-Packard announces its split and a Dell spokesman swipes at the company, calling it “complex” and “distracting.”

November: One year after going private, few know whether Dell is on better financial footing than it was when it was public.


April: Dell rolls out an aggressive marketing campaign redefining the company around the $1 trillion IT services market.

May: EMC acquires Virtustream, a cloud computing software company, for $1.2 billion.

June: Fortune’s Barb Darrow questions EMC’s cloud strategy. “A victory for customer choice, or just confusing?” she asks.

July: In an interview with Adam Lashinsky at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Silver Lake managing partner Egon Durban expressed admiration for EMC’s “federation” model. Later in the month, a report suggests that Dell wants to spin off its CyberWorks security business in an IPO. Meanwhile EMC CEO Joe Tucci rejects the idea of breaking up during its earnings call and spins off Syncplicity, a Box and Dropbox competitor.

August: EMC endures continued pressure from investor Elliott Management without changing a thing. Reports suggest that VMware could buy its own parent company. Two senior VMware executives leave the company. Paul Maritz, CEO of EMC Federation member Pivotal, steps down.

September: A senior EMC executive defends the company’s “federation” structure at an industry event after a make-nice agreement with Elliott Management expires. “We really believe strongly that breaking up is the wrong thing to do,” he said. (For more, read this explainer on EMC’s “federation” structure.)

October: An initial report suggests EMC and Dell are making a deal. One week later, a Dell-EMC deal is all but confirmed, then officially confirmed. The resulting company is worth $67 billion.

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