Dell, maker of the XPS Ultrabook shown during the 2012...

Dell, maker of the XPS Ultrabook shown during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, has received a letter from stockholder Carl Icahn proposing a leveraged recapitalization instead of a move to go private. Credit: AP

ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Dell said Monday that it's buying Quest Software for about $2.36 billion, ending recent speculation about who the unnamed bidder was in the battle for the company with investment firm Insight Venture Partners.

Quest, base in Aliso Viejo, Calif., helps companies manage databases and provides other corporate IT services, and with consumer demand for PCs declining, Dell wants to branch out beyond the business of making personal computers into more lucrative fields. Helped by a recent string of acquisitions of software companies, Dell is trying to grow into advising corporations and governments on how to manage technology needs and selling them more software and computing equipment.

Dell said Quest would make it more competitive in the server, storage, networking and computing services business. Quest's technology would add to its security and data protections offerings, along with other services aimed at business customers, Dell said.

Quest Software Inc. had agreed to be bought by Insight for $23 per share, or $2 billion, in March, and a series of increasing bids from Insight and another bidder followed.

The March bid was a 19 percent premium to the company's closing stock price the day before the deal was announced. Dell's $28 per share offer announced Monday is a 44 percent premium to Quest's ending price of $19.40 from March 8.

The deal is expected to close in Dell's August-October quarter. Both boards have approved the deal, but Quest shareholders must still vote it through.

Quest CEO Vinny Smith, who has a 34 percent stake in Quest, had agreed to support Insight's offer in March. In a statement Monday, he said that with the Dell deal, Quest's products and workforce would be the "foundation" for Dell's software business.

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