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VMware separated from Dell on Monday – and immediately signaled its intent to go out, find more partners and acquire companies.

That means Dell Technologies has formally spun off VMware into a separate, independent software business, completing an April transaction to offload its 80.5 per cent ownership in the company, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission submitted by the virtualization specialist.

Dell received VMware as part of its $67bn merger in 2016 with EMC, which created the world’s largest private company at the time. It was a part of a string of takeovers that ballooned Dell’s debt.

Dell started selling off acquisitions to write down debt, and VMware was offloaded in the process. Dell is now shying away from mega acquisitions, with CEO Michael Dell in September saying: “I wouldn’t hold your breath for any large transactions like that. Our M&A is going to be targeted,” adding that the IT giant’s future is more on partnerships.

But VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram sounded like he got a get-out-of-jail-free card in his announcement this week, saying independence from Dell offers “increased flexibility we will have to use equity to complete future acquisitions will help us remain competitive.”

VMware can now chase down infrastructure and cloud partnerships with companies outside Dell.

Raghuram said, “As a standalone company, we now have the flexibility to partner even more deeply with all cloud and on-premises infrastructure companies to create a better foundation that drives results for our customers. Today’s move will strengthen our mission to be the Switzerland of the cloud industry.”

But Raghuram also reaffirmed that VMware and Dell will continue to have a strong partnership on cloud infrastructure and products.

VMware in the SEC filing said it would pay a $11.5bn dividend at $27.40 per share related to the transaction. For each share held, stockholders of Dell are receiving 0.440626 VMware stock, Dell said in a filing with the SEC.

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