VMware was seen as the crown jewel in 2015 when Dell acquired EMC for $67 billion. That gave Dell 80 percent of VMware, which was an early pioneer in a technology called virtualization. That process gave companies a way to run the large computers in their data centers more efficiently by packing multiple “virtual” computers on a single piece of hardware.
While the technique is still widely used, VMware’s growth prospects have been tempered as companies have moved more of their infrastructure from their own data centers to large cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft. In 2016, the company agreed to let customers run its software on arch-rival Amazon’s cloud service, an admission that the cloud model is taking precedence.
The reverse-merger is one of the more audacious strategic initiatives being looked at by Dell and its advisers, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Dell’s board of directors will meet next month to consider a slew of options, many of which are still in the early stages of examination, including the reverse merger.
If VMware were to buy Dell, VMware would issue shares to Michael Dell and Silver Lake, the private owners of Dell. The owners could then sell shares on the public market as a way of monetizing their investment in Dell, the people said.
The exact valuation of Dell isn’t known because the company is private. Dell took itself private in a $24.4 billion deal in 2013. It then acquired EMC for $67 billion in 2015, a deal that still stands as the largest technology acquisition of all time.