US computer giant Dell said on Monday it is buying computer services firm Perot Systems for 3.9 billion dollars in a move seen as a bid to counter rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard and expand beyond its core PC business.
Dell, the second-largest US computer manufacturer after HP, said it plans to acquire all ordinary shares of the company founded by Texas billionaire Ross Perot for 30 dollars a share, a 65-percent premium over Friday's closing price.
"Dell and Perot Systems have entered a definitive agreement for Dell to acquire Perot Systems in a transaction valued at approximately 3.9 billion dollars," Dell said in a statement.
Terms of the agreement were approved Sunday by the boards of directors of the Texas-based companies, it said.
Dell said it hopes to finish executing the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, by the end of January.
Perot Systems would become Dell's services division under Peter Altabef, the current Perot Systems chief executive officer.
"At the same time, Dell directors are expected to consider Ross Perot Jr., Perot Systems' chairman of the board, for appointment to the Dell board," the statement said.
Perot's father, Ross Perot, was an independent presidential candidate in 1992.
"When my father founded Perot Systems he envisioned a global information technology leader," Ross Perot Jr. said.
"The new, larger Dell builds on that promise and its own successes by taking Perot Systems' expertise to more customers than ever," he said.
Dell chairman and chief executive Michael Dell said the acquisition of Perot Systems "enhances our opportunities for immediate and long-term growth.
"This significantly expands Dell's enterprise-solutions capabilities and makes Perot Systems' strengths available to even more customers around the world," he said.
"There will be efficiencies from combining the companies, but the acquisition makes such great sense because of the obvious ways our businesses complement each other," Dell added.
Hale Holden of Barclays Capital and other analysts said the acquisition appeared to be a "defensive" move by Dell towards rivals such as HP and IBM, giving it a foothold in markets other than the PC industry.
IBM has been expanding the range of its activities and HP last year completed its acquisition of Electronic Data Systems. HP said last month that EDS had since become the company's biggest revenue earner.
The Plano, Texas-based Perot Systems reported revenue of 2.8 billion dollars in 2008 and employs more than 23,000 people in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
Dell shares were trading 4.19 percent lower at 15.99 dollars at mid-day in New York while shares in Perot Systems surged to near the offer price, gaining 65.27 percent to 29.60 dollars.