EMC Vice Chairman Teuber: China Approval Of Dell Merger 'Can't Come Fast Enough'
So Far, So Good
William Teuber has seen plenty of change in his more-than 20-year career at EMC. And as vice chairman of the company's board, he has helped shepherd the company's ever-closer acquisition by Dell Inc., including Tuesday's EMC shareholders' vote to approve the acquisition deal.
Between 2006 and 2012, Teuber oversaw all of EMC's customer operations, and since the Dell merger was announced last October, he's been in front of customers making sure they understand the rationale for the deal, as well as the mechanics of completing it.
The deal is considered the largest in the history of the IT industry and would create a more-than $70 billion, global IT powerhouse. The closing is expected to happen before the end of October, and according to Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell, it's likely to happen before then. The only remaining hurdle is approval by Chinese anti-trust authorities, and Dell executives have said the deal could close within two weeks of receiving that approval.
Teuber spoke with CRN shortly after the special meeting of EMC shareholders Tuesday morning. He said that so far, everything has gone according to plan, and that he and the rest of EMC's board are eager for the deal to close. Here is an edited excerpt of that conversation.
Ninety-eight percent of shareholders voted to approve the Dell merger, how are you and the board feeling?
We feel great. We knew it would take a lot of time. It's a large, complex transaction that includes an instrument no one was familiar with – the tracking stock. We're exactly where we thought we'd be in October, and the shareholder vote came in right where we thought it would be, and there was lots of response, 74 percent of outstanding shares.
Were you surprised that there was no discussion during the shareholder vote?
No, the preponderance of shares are held by the largest institutions in the world – Fidelity, Wellington Management – and they're not going to send somebody up here to ask questions. Afterwards, we had an informal Q&A session, and we got very similar questions to the ones we've been getting all along: Why are you doing this transaction? There was lots of conversation about the tracking stock. There was a sense that finally this is going to happen for sure. There were many, many EMC employees in the room.
What do employees want to know?
Employees would like to know the next steps. That's one of the reasons we want to close sooner rather than later. When there's certainty, people put their heads down and go to work. Salespeople will sell anything. R&D, there's not a lot of angst there. Others want to know what are you going to do? What's next? Feelings are positive here, especially coming off a good quarter. We just need to end any uncertainty.
How far are you from approval by the Chinese government?
We'd like to get [approval from] China as soon as possible. We're on the original timeframe, but it can't come fast enough.
What's it been like doing the legwork in the run-up to the vote?
I've been talking to a lot of customers, and the customers got it right away. On a shareholder basis, we had to do some more work.