Dell hunts for a banker

May 5, 2009

rtr21rzjDell is looking to hire an M&A chief, The Wall Street Journal reports, adding that the computer maker has been interviewing “investment banking and technology industry veterans” for the newly created executive position, and could announce a hire within the next month.

Two bankers have told me in the past few weeks this is the case. One Silicon Valley banker said Dell has been trying to fill the position for quite a while, but no M&A banker worth his or her salt wants to join the company, which is notorious for lagging behind on acquisitions, even as rivals like Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and IBM go forth and acquire every few months.

“Joining Dell is basically as good as saying goodbye to your M&A career,” said a banker who has received feelers from the Round Rock, Texas-based company.

Dell’s acquisition track record is pretty weak compared to its peers. Its biggest deal in recent memory is the $1.4 billion purchase of storage company EqualLogic in 2007.

When Cisco made its foray into the computer server market a couple of months ago, there was a lot of talk what companies might come into play, as biggies like HP and IBM rush to protect their turf. Some folks even read IBM’s pursuit of Sun Microsystems as a defensive response to Cisco’s announcement.

But on the Dell question, people wondered where the company fit in this dealmaking game.

“You can’t be half in on this,” Highland Capital Partners’ Peter Bell said at the time of Dell’s acquisition strategy. “You’ve got to be all in.”

Maybe if Dell finds the right banker, they will also find good use of that $9 billion cash stash.

A Dell spokesman declined to comment on speculation about personnel hires.

Photo: Reuters

One comment so far | RSS Comments RSS

If Dell doesn’t act fast they might find a banker very soon, not their own, but the one employed by HP, Lenovo or some other big fish IT player. Either you eat from the buffet or you become someone else’s tasty IT snack.


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