Dell-EMC Merger Clears U.S. Antitrust Hurdle

Dell's proposed acquisition of EMC has met an important milestone, gaining antitrust clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

As of midnight Tuesday, the transaction had cleared a mandatory waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976, Dell said in a statement. The proposed $67 billion deal must still win the approval of EMC shareholders and gain other regulatory clearances.

Dell, Round Rock, Texas, estimates EMC shareholder approval could come this spring.

Related: Dell Edges Closer To Selling Perot Systems, Enters Exclusive Negotiation With NTT

"This is great news," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategy at Ontario, Calif.-based Dell partner Sigmanet, who said he's looking forward to working with a combined Dell-EMC converged infrastructure and data center business. "The message we've received from both Dell and EMC indicates that things are moving faster than planned," he said.

Late last week, it was reported that the merger was poised to receive unconditional antitrust approval from the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, by the end of the month.

The acquisition, originally pegged at $67 billion when it was announced in October, would be the largest in the history of the tech industry, and would create an $80 billion global IT industry powerhouse. The transaction is expected to close between May and October. The deal's value has been driven down by VMware's declining share price, which has dropped by more than 40 percent in the last four months. EMC owns 80 percent of VMware.

Dell recently pushed back against reports that claimed the deal had hit a snag with the group of banks arranging financing for the acquisition. Dell said it expects to take on as much as $49.5 billion in debt to make the deal happen, and has plans to begin paying down that debt aggressively in the first 18 to 24 months after the transaction closes.

Part of that debt pay-down includes selling off business units, and Dell is close to unloading its Perot Systems unit. Dell is in an exclusive, 30-day negotiating period with Tokyo-based NTT for the Perot unit, which Dell bought in 2009.

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