IBM, EMC Among Possible Suitors Of SoftLayer Technologies In Potential $2B Deal: Reuters

News service Reuters, citing three unnamed sources, on Thursday reported that IBM and EMC are among the possible suitors for Dallas-based SoftLayer Technologies in a deal that could be worth $2 billion.

SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform across 13 data centers in the U.S., Asia and Europe. The company claims to be the world's largest privately held Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, with 100,000 devices under management.

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AT&T was also at one point talking to SoftLayer about a potential acquisition, but has since ended those talks, Reuters said.

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An acquisition of SoftLayer comes at a time when IBM, EMC and other large IT vendors are looking at how to provide cloud services to customers of their hardware and software products.

IBM has a public IaaS offering with IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, while rival Hewlett-Packard offers its HP Cloud Services.

VMware, majority owned by EMC, this month unveiled its own public cloud plans.

Should SoftLayer be acquired, it would be the latest in a string of big acquisition deals in the cloud-hosting business.

In one of the biggest deals so far, telephone carrier CenturyLink in 2011 acquired Savvis, a managed hosting and collocation provider, in a $3.2 billion deal that gave the two a combined 48 data centers in North America, Europe and Asia with more than 1.9 million square feet of gross floor space.

Earlier that same year, Verizon acquired IaaS provider Terremark Worldwide in a $1.4 billion deal.

In response to a request for more information, a SoftLayer Technologies spokesperson said the company's policy is not to respond to rumor or speculation, while spokespeople of both IBM and EMC said the company declined to discuss such an acquisition.