Dell announced Monday that it had reached a deal to acquire cloud computing giant EMC for $67 billion, the largest acquisition in the history of the technology industry.

The deal signals that Dell believes it’s best to go big at a time when many older technology firms such as Hewlett-Packard are paring down and focusing on becoming smaller, nimbler companies. Traditionally known as a personal PC-maker, Dell has more recently set its ambitions on the business computing market, aiming to be a single source for companies trying to navigate a high-tech business world.

Dell and equity firm Silver Lake Partners said in a media release Monday that buying EMC, a major data-storage company, broadens its attractiveness to those lucrative corporate customers.

“Our new company will be exceptionally well-positioned for growth in the most strategic areas of next-generation IT, including digital transformation, software-defined data center, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, mobile and security,” said Michael Dell, co-founder and chief executive of the company that bears his name. Dell returned to run the company he founded in 2007 and took the company private again in 2013 with backing from Silver Lake Partners.

Shares of EMC spiked more than 3 percent ahead of the market’s open, as high as $29.10 per share. The company will go private after the deal is closed; its cloud and virtualization business VMWare, however, will remain publicly traded.

EMC investors will receive roughly $33.15 per share – more specifically, $24.05 per share and a type of stock “linked to a portion of EMC’s economic interest” in VMWare.

The EMC transaction is expected to close sometime in the “middle of next year,” executives said on a call with analysts Monday morning. The firms have been talking about a deal for at least a year, said long-time EMC chief executive Joe Tucci, who will remain as EMC’s chief executive and chairman until the deal closes.

As Dell has struggled to adapt its PC business for the modern age, EMC also has been under pressure from activist investors to spin off its VMWare business for more than year as its faced heavy competition from flash storage and cloud storage firms. It also has faced pointed questions about its “federated” business structure, which strung three firms – its traditional business, VMWare and its software development firm Pivotal – together to comprise its whole.

Analysts had formerly counted Dell, as well as HP, Cisco and Oracle, as potential buyers for the firm. Under the terms of the deal announced Monday, EMC has negotiated a “go-shop” provision in the preliminary deal that gives it the opportunity to seek out other buyers.

Analysts said that although the Dell deal may slightly undervalue EMC shares, it’s still a good deal. “(It) appears that Tucci/board would rather go down the aisle with Dell than pursue a breakup, a smart strategy, in our opinion – as the $33 price tag is very fair,” wrote Daniel Ives of FBR Capital in a note to investors Monday.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.