Hedge fund and PE firm to buy Dell’s software unit

Hedge fund and PE firm to buy Dell’s software unit

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For more than a decade, the hedge fund Elliott Management has focused on shaking up technology businesses with activist shareholder campaigns, urging companies to sell themselves.

Now the hedge fund has taken a big step into the business of buying companies outright.

Elliott and the private equity firm Francisco Partners said on Monday that they would buy Dell’s software businesses. A price was not disclosed, though it is estimated to be more than $2 billion. The two are getting a mix of software makers that Dellacquired over the years, including the security provider SonicWall and the information technology manager Quest Software. Dell had looked to sell the businesses in part to help raise cash to support its debt-heavy takeover of EMC Software, which faces a vote by EMC shareholders next month.

Elliott has dabbled in private equity before, but in small ways. The hedge fund has offered to buy companies like Novell during activist campaigns, though largely as a tactic to try to prod those businesses into putting themselves up for sale. (The activist investor Carl C Icahn is a fan of the move.) And it has rolled over its stakes in other companies, including BMC and Blue Coat, when other financiers have bought control.

But Elliott’s head of United States equity activism, Jesse Cohn, has quietly built a team to focus on being more active in buying companies or lending them money. In short, it is functioning like a true private equity business.

That has included hiring Isaac Kim, an executive at the private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, to lead that team, named Evergreen Coast Capital because it has a friendlier name without Elliott’s baggage of shareholder activism. Read More

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