Like HP, Dell also acquires a Perot empire for enterprise services

Though Dell has extended its brand to consumer electronics of all sorts, the company's latest drive is straight into enterprise services, a segment of the IT market which has helped HP retain a competitive edge on Dell in hardware sales.

Today, Dell announced it will be acquiring Perot Systems in a $3.9 billion all-cash transaction expected to be completed in January.

"We've really been transforming Dell in a number of ways," CEO Michael Dell told CNBC this morning. "One of the ways we're doing that is by becoming a solutions integrator, providing the best value solutions to help companies run a very efficient enterprise architecture...and the addition of the Perot Systems team here will really allow us to extend that to a much broader set of customers."

Indeed, in the last year and a half, Dell has grown its IT services portfolio by acquiring IP Storage Area Network company EqualLogic, and then later enterprise e-mail service company MessageOne. This morning, Michael Dell said the market for services like those from EqualLogic has grown more than four times in just over a year.

With the addition of Perot Systems, Dell is expanding its IT consulting business; and the company today said this acquisition will let Dell offer a broader range of IT services and solutions by optimizing how they're delivered, extend Perot Systems' capabilities and customer segments, and supply Dell systems to more Perot customers.

This is important to note because nearly 80% of Dell's revenue comes from enterprise hardware sales; and the company will need a diversified revenue stream to outgrow chief competitor HP.

HP, currently the world's leading computer manufacturer, made a similar acquisition last year when it picked up EDS for $13 billion. EDS was founded in 1962 by none other than H. Ross Perot, who 26 years later founded Perot systems in the very same town of Plano, Texas.

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