EMC Posts A Solid Quarter And Agrees To Meet With An Activist Investor Who Might Want To Break It Up

EMC Joe TucciEMCEMC CEO Joe Tucci

As is its tradition, EMC reported earnings before the market opened, a beat on revenue and a meet on profits.

Sales were up 5% year-over-year to $US5.9 billion. That’s a beat. Analysts were looking for $US5.8 billion. Non-GAAP earnings per share, excluding extraordinary charges, hit 43 cents a share, in-line with expectations.

The company also raised its full-year earning per share guidance by 1 cent. EMC now expects to end the year with non-GAAP EPS of $US1.91. EMC reiterated full-year revenue guidance of $US24.575 billion for 2014.

VMware is still the company’s star child. Its revenue was up 17% from the year ago quarter, to $US1.45 billion. Its newer spin-out, Pivitol (run by VMware’s former CEO Paul Maritz) is growing, too, the company reported. Revenue for Pivitol was up 29% year over year, to $US54 million.

EMC is facing increasing market pressure these days. Companies are looking at cloud-computing vendors ranging from Amazon to Box to help them store documents, reducing the need to buy ever more storage for their own data centres.

On top of that, EMC is facing growing competition from companies like Pure Storage that sell flash storage, the same storage tech used by thumb drives and smartphones.

EMC is in the flash storage market, too, with its recently launched EMC XtremIO product line. This came from the 2012 acquisition of Israeli flash-storage startup XtremIO for $US430 million. EMC has now been selling XtremIO for two quarters and says sales of the product this quarter put it on an annual run rate to “surpass $US300 million.”

The company has recently become of interest activist investor, Paul Singer and his Elliott Management Corp., the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Elliott is looking to spend $US1 billion to take on a 2% stake, according to the Journal, and with that, pressure for EMC to sell off VMware, and/or break itself apart altogether. This has sparked lots of discussion that EMC may soon be embroiled in big break-up fight with investors

So far, no official documents have been filed with the SEC that make Elliott’s huge stake official.

When asked about it on a call with investors, CEO Joe Tucci said that he has agreed to a meeting with Elliott, reports the WSJ.

Without VMware, EMC posted a profit of $US589 million compared with $US701 million a year earlier.

The stock is trading slight up today, at about $US29.

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