NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Dell is reportedly in talks to acquire data storage firm EMC (EMC) , a target of activist pressures that has held discussions with a number of potential partners in recent years.

The companies both declined comment, but multiple sources say the two sides have focused the talks on a plan where privately held Dell would team with Dell shareholder Silver Lake Partners to acquire both EMC and VMware  (VMW) , a Palo Alto, Calif.-based public company EMC controls.

Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um in a note said that a deal, though "challenging" given the amount of debt that would be required, would make sense for both companies. Though Dell's financials are no longer public information, "we believe the company is likely seeing pressure from the broader issues in the PC market." A combination with EMC would help transform Dell into more of an enterprise-oriented company, combining its computer business with EMC's storage operation.

EMC has been under pressure from activist Elliott Management Corp. to spin off its 80% stake in VMware. The company has argued against a spinoff, but has been seeking avenues to boost its value. EMC reportedly held talks with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) last year.

Meanwhile, for EMC and VMware, combining with Dell would "not only benefit the companies from a cost perspective but also from a revenue synergy perspective," Um wrote.

A deal between Dell and EMC could take a number of forms, including a merger that would return Dell to public markets, a deal for only EMC with VMware spun out to shareholders or an outright takeover of EMC and its VMWare stake by Dell.

CNBC's David Faber reported Thursday that the companies are near agreement on valuation, with plans for Dell and Silver Lake to acquire EMC and retain control of VMWare. The deal would value EMC at about $27 per share, a slight premium to the target's $25.96 Monday close.

But such a deal would be difficult to pull off: Faber said Dell was likely to attempt to raise upwards of $40 billion in new financing as part of the transaction.

Dell was taken private by Silver Lake and founder Michael Dell in 2013 for $25 billion.

A merger would also solve EMC's succession issues. CEO Joe Tucci has planned since last February to step down but the company has so far not named his replacement.