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Dell's Next M&A Target

Stocks in this article: DELL

ROUND ROCK, Texas ( TheStreet) -- Just hours after Dell (DELL) announced its $3.9 billion acquisition of Perot Systems (PER), speculation is already mounting about the tech giant's next M&A target.

Dell's M&A ambitions have been known for some time, with storage and services touted as the two most likely target areas. With Perot Systems, the tech bellwether has ramped up its services business to compete with IBM (IBM) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), so storage may be next.

Not for the first time, backup specialist CommVault (CVLT) is being mentioned. "We expect the company to remain acquisitive and see CommVault as the best fit within our coverage universe," wrote Jayson Noland, an analyst at R.W. Baird, in a note released Tuesday.

CommVault uses a technology called de-duplication, which aims to ensure that the same pieces of information are not stored. With companies drowning in ever-growing volumes of data, de-dupe is fast emerging as a hot technology, as evidenced by EMC (EMC) and NetApp's (NTAP) recent tug of war over Data Domain (DDUP).

With PC sales tanking, Dell needs to re-invent itself as an enterprise computing entity, and has already made a foray into the storage space, snapping up EqualLogic for $1.4 billion last year. Clearly a going concern, Michael Dell recently said that EqualLogic is now four times larger than when the company was acquired.

Even during the recent recession, storage was seen as one of the healthier parts of the tech sector, thanks largely to firms' unbridled data growth. From finance to retail and Internet service providers, companies are under increasing pressure to retain data and many are rethinking their storage strategies. Against this backdrop, large tech players such as EMC have been bolstering their storage stories.

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