Dell Officials Confident of Chinese Approval of EMC Deal

Two Dell executives say the OK from Chinese regulators is one of the last hurdles to completing the huge $67 billion acquisition.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Dell has gotten the approval of U.S. and European regulators for its $67 billion to buy data storage giant EMC, and now is only awaiting the OK of Chinese officials—and eventually EMC shareholders. And that will come, according to two company officials.

Speaking May 31 to a group of journalists and analysts here, Gaurav Chand, global vice president of marketing for Dell and the company's lead in the effort to integrate Dell’s and EMC's marketing units, and Matt Baker, executive director of enterprise strategy and market intelligence for Dell's Enterprise Solutions Group, both said they expect the approval from Chinese regulators will come sooner than later.

"We have one more hurdle to go and we're very confident we'll clear that hurdle," Baker said.

Chand agreed, adding, "We don't see any major issues on that front. … It's going to happen, and it's going to happen pretty soon."

Dell's proposed acquisition represents the largest deal in tech industry history, and a significant step in CEO Michael Dell's ongoing efforts to transform the company from a PC maker into an enterprise IT solutions and services provider. There have been questions surrounding the proposal, in such areas as financing the massive deal, job cuts and which businesses to sell off to pay down the expected $49 billion debt. However, both Chand and Baker stressed that the deal makes sense to both Dell and EMC customers and partners, and that the combined company will have significant capabilities to address the challenges being brought by the ongoing digitization of businesses.

IT staffs are being pressured to drive down costs, and companies are becoming less tech-savvy and more business-savvy. They are looking to vendors such as Dell to supply the bulk of the technology they need to help bring them into the digital age and enable them to take advantage of such trends as the cloud and the Internet of things (IoT), Baker and Chand said. They don't want to need to worry about having to integrate multiple products from 15 different vendors, Chand noted.

"With EMC, we bring a lot of capabilities to bear," he said.

Baker pointed to the Topgolf company as an example. The number of people playing golf in the United States continues to fall, due in large part to the amount of time and cost needed to play a round. Topgolf—including the one here, the location where Baker and Chand talked with the analysts and journalists—runs multi-level driving ranges that include targets and uses golf balls with RFID chips that are connected to software running on Dell systems. The software analyzes and visualizes the data, which details the distance and accuracy of each shot to arrive at a score. Players can hit golf balls and compete on points without spending four to five hours on a course, Baker said.

Work also is underway to develop smart golf clubs and to find ways to leverage social technologies to make the game even more interesting—an example of how technology can help bring any industry into the modern, digital world, Baker said.

"It's a very digital experience for a very, very old institution," he said.