EMC (EMC) reported first quarter earnings that fell short of analysts' projections, but shares haven't relinquished any ground in Wednesday's trading session, as investors continue to focus on the storage company's impending acquisition by Dell.
In fact, EMC shares were trading 3% higher at $26 a share in the afternoon, as investors continue to show a constructive stance toward the stock. EMC management said the takeover by Dell is still on track to be completed sometime in the second or third quarter of this year.
EMC reported 31 cents a share for the period, 2 cents below Wall Street's projections, and matching the company's year-earlier performance. The company declined to provide forecasts for its coming performance.
EMC also has gotten a boost from the performance of VMWare (VMW) - Get Report , the virtualization software maker that's 81% owned by EMC, an enterprise that is slated to be recapitalized by the Dell transaction. VMWare late Tuesday reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly revenue for the quarter ended in March and said that its sales in the current quarter would match or exceed analysts' forecasts, helped by sales of a new virtualization software product.
VMWare also announced plans to repurchase $1.2 billion worth of shares, a move that would shrink its share count and make its stock more valuable.
VMWare shares, which have retreated as much as 35% since the Dell deal for EMC was announced, climbed 14% Wednesday to $58.
Analysts following EMC said the outlook for completion of the takeover by Dell was more important than the storage company's quarterly profit performance.
Dell announced in October that it would buy EMC for $67 billion, making it easily the largest takeover ever in the technology sector. EMC shareholders are slated to get $24.05 a share in cash in the buyout, though terms of the transaction are somewhat complicated by the VMWare stake. EMC holders will also receive 0.111 shares of a new stock tracking VMWare.
The inclusion of the tracking stock was intended to help alleviate the enormous debt burden associated with the takeover of EMC. Nevertheless, even with the mitigation the tracking stock represents, the debt financing backing the acquisition has reached nearly $50 billion. However, bankers timed the debt funding so that it preceded interest rate hikes that could have added several million dollars more to the financing required to complete the transaction.
EMC agreed to the takeover after being urged by an activist investor, Elliott Management, to pursue strategies that could offset the increasingly competitive market for storage products.
Dell, the operating unit of parent Denali Holding, was taken private in February 2013 by its founder, Michael Dell, with the support of the private equity firm Silver Lake. The deal valued what was then the publicly-held Dell at just over $24 billion, giving shareholders at the time $13.65 a share in cash for their holdings. Dell, the company's chief executive, wanted to operate the business without the glare of public ownership as he sought to orchestrate a departure from the company's core, but fading, PC business.
Since going private, Dell has added to its business lines, cobbling on network services, corporate software and mobile devices. The initiatives have run counter to trends in the technology sector, where many players are spinning off discrete units to give greater focus and clarity to individual operations. However, Dell has been pursuing a strategy of being a one-stop shopping destination for corporate customers, using its add-on enterprises to bolster its long-time PC business.