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Broadcom CEO Hock Tan’s Guide To Buying VMware In 30 Days

O’Ryan Johnson

CRN takes you behind the scenes for a month of late-night meetings, phone calls, and the two conversations Michael Dell had at Davos that became footnotes to one the largest software deals of all time once it closes.

Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell
Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell

Assistant to Assistant

On April 26, Hock Tan’s assistant called Michael Dell’s assistant to make an appointment.

What followed was a fast-paced month of meetings, phone calls, offers, and counter-offers that launched the merger of Broadcom and VMware.

Tan, the CEO of Broadcom, wanted to talk with Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies, the largest single shareholder of VMware and president of VMware’s board, but Tan wouldn’t say what the meeting was about.

The two CEOs agreed to meet on Friday, May 6, the day after Dell Technologies World ended in Las Vegas.

“At the May 6 meeting, Mr. Tan told Mr. Dell that Broadcom would be interested in a potential combination with VMware on a friendly basis. Mr. Tan and Mr. Dell discussed Broadcom’s strategic rationale with respect to such a transaction, but did not discuss the price or any other terms of a potential transaction,” according to a filing with the SEC.

During their conversation, Dell suggested Tan speak with Egon Durban, a VMware board member, who is also co-CEO at Silver Lake, one of the nation’s largest private equity firms. Until 2019, Silver Lake had been an investor in Broadcom. Besides Dell, SilverLake has the largest stake in VMware at 10 percent.

Then, immediately after the meeting Dell called board member Paul Sagan, the lead independent director of VMware, to tell him about Tan’s proposal. Sagan, a former television news writer and director, has been a board member of VMware since 2015.

The next day, Tan was on the phone with Durban and by Thursday Tan had brought together Broadcom executives, Durban, and Silver Lake executives to talk about a potential merger.

 
O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at ojohnson@thechannelcompany.com..

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