Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Dell Inc., the computer maker planning to go private in a $24.4 billion deal, reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales and profit that topped analysts’ estimates, a sign of buoyant demand for servers and software.
Revenue for the period ended in January fell 11 percent to $14.3 billion, exceeding the average $14.1 billion average estimate of analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings excluding certain items declined to 40 cents a share, compared with analysts’ 39-cent estimate.
The results suggest Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell made some headway in his campaign to transform the company into a provider of a broad range of business-technology products. Dell’s earlier struggle to gain share in mobile devices and its late entrance into cloud computing contributed to a 31 percent decline in its stock in 2012, prompting Dell to seek a buyout. Investors are more focused on the deal than quarterly results, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc.
“That seems to be more important than the quarter itself in determining the near-term stock direction,” said Wu, who has a neutral rating on Round Rock, Texas-based Dell. “The results won’t matter as much.”
Michael Dell and Silver Lake Management LLC are taking Dell private in the largest LBO since the financial crisis, offering $13.65 a share. Some outside stockholders want the buyers to offer a higher price.
Shares of Dell rose in late trading after slipping by less than 1 percent to $13.81 at the close in New York. Dell has risen 27 percent since Jan. 11, the last trading day before Bloomberg News reported the company was in talks to go private.
Fourth-quarter net income declined 31 percent to $530 million, compared with analysts’ $551 million estimate.
Dell, the world’s third-largest PC maker, is suffering from declining demand for desktops and laptops, which make up about half its sales. Global PC shipments declined 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to market researcher Gartner Inc., and Dell’s shipments fell 21 percent.
The company hasn’t capitalized on consumers’ and businesses’ shift toward smartphones and tablets, which are replacing traditional PCs for many tasks. In data-center products and services -- where Dell has acquired 18 companies for $12.7 billion since 2009 -- it faces competition from International Business Machines Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., and Oracle Corp.
Dell’s sales for fiscal 2014, which began in February, may fall 1.3 percent to $56 billion, according to analysts’ estimates. Earnings excluding some items may decline 2 percent to $1.68, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Michael Dell and private-equity firm Silver Lake seek to take Dell private after the company lost almost one-third of its value in 2012 amid stiffening competition in mobile and cloud computing. The buyers need approval by a majority of shareholders, excluding Michael Dell, and face opposition to the deal from the company’s two largest outside shareholders.
T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Southeastern Asset Management, which together own more than 10 percent of the stock, have said Dell is worth more than the buyers have offered. The computer maker is setting up meetings with shareholders to assess their demands for getting the buyout done, people with knowledge of the situation have said.
--Editors: Tom Giles, Reed Stevenson
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