Dell Ends Quest Software, PacketTrap Managed Services Pursuit

Dell Ends Quest Software, PacketTrap Managed Services Pursuit

Dell and Quest Software M&A discussions apparently have fallen apart. For managed services providers (MSPs), that means Dell won't gain ownership of Quest's PacketTrap MSP and PacketTrap PSA businesses. But will Quest Software and PacketTrap still attract a buyer? Apparently yes.

Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and Quest Software (NASDAQ: QSFT) have held on-again, off-again M&A discussions for several weeks, but the negotiations have broken down, according to Reuters. The two companies continue to work together on several fronts, but Quest seems poised to have a different owner. The most likely buyer at this point: Insight Venture Partners.

Indeed, Insight bid $2 billion for Quest Software back in March 2012, but Quest Software had reserved the right to seek additional suitors for 60 days. I don't know if Insight faces and rival bids for Quest at this point.

Meanwhile, two MSPs contacted MSPmentor this evening, expressing relief that Dell apparently was not poised to buy Quest and its PacketTrap business. "I'm glad the drama is over," one MSP told me over email about an hour ago. "I like Dell. I like PacketTrap. But that doesn't mean I want Dell controlling my customer management software."

PacketTrap develops remote monitoring and PSA (professional services automation) software for MSPs. The PacketTrap PSA platform is similar to a CRM system -- meaning that Dell could have wound up maintaining customer management databases for MSPs (a scenario some PacketTrap partners feared).

I'm always careful not to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) about Dell's partner and channel engagements. But I also listen carefully to reader concerns when they pop up. We'll keep listening, and watching to see if Dell and Quest ever decide to rekindle their discussions...



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