A deal-maker departs Dell

Contact: Brenon Daly

The top dealmaker at Dell, David Johnson, has left the computer maker for buyout shop Blackstone Group. Johnson joined Dell in mid-2009 as SVP for Corporate Strategy after an acrimonious split from IBM, where he had worked for 27 years. In mid-2010, Johnson was also named head of Business Development, overseeing acquisitions and investments at the company that has been trying to expand beyond simply being a ‘box seller.’

Johnson’s arrival at Dell came at a time when the company, which was a late-comer to the tech market consolidation, had just started shopping. In his time at the Round Rock, Texas-based giant, Dell announced some 20 transactions with a tab of $10bn. The acquisitions got Dell into virtually every part of the tech landscape, including IT services (Perot Systems), security (SecureWorks, SonicWALL), networking (Force10 Networks), storage (Compellent, AppAssure) and infrastructure software (Quest Software).

However, the return on that spending has yet to show up. Dell is still shrinking. It will likely end fiscal 2013, which wraps at the end of this month, with sales of about $57bn. That’s some $5bn, or 8%, lower than the company’s revenue in its previous fiscal year. Again, that decline comes despite a not-insignificant addition of aggregate revenue from its M&A spree. (For instance, Quest, which Dell closed in late September, was generating almost $900m in annual sales when it was acquired.)

The lack of growth at Dell is the reason the stock is out of favor on Wall Street. Since mid-2009, when Johnson joined Dell, the company has lost almost 20% of its value while the Nasdaq has tacked on 75%. The market values Dell at slightly less than $20bn.

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