PCGIANT Dell announced yesterday that it plans to buy computer services firm Perot Systems for about $3.9bn (&pound;2.4bn), in a bid to compete with Hewlett-Packard and IBM.<br /><br />Dell intends to pay a steep 67.5 per cent premium to expand its technology services business into higher margin IT services, thereby securing more stable and recurring revenues as computer hardware becomes cheaper.<br /><br />Dell, which has previously indicated its intention to step up acquisitions, said it would pay $30 per share for Perot Systems, compared to Friday&rsquo;s closing price of $17.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.<br /><br />Some analysts were surprised at the price Dell is offering for Perot &ndash; which was founded by former US presidential candidate Ross Perot &ndash; but commended Dell&rsquo;s strategy of moving away from its reliance on personal computer (PC) sales.<br /><br />&ldquo;We do see the building block as being compelling, but the purchase price seems relatively rich,&rdquo; said JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, noting that the deal looked expensive compared to HP&rsquo;s purchase of EDS last year.<br /><br />Dell is the world&rsquo;s number two maker of PCs, with roughly 60 per cent of its revenue coming from that market. <br /><br />The company has been trying to diversify its range of offerings, and services currently comprise only around one-tenth of sales. The firm says it expects the deal to add to its earnings in fiscal 2012.<br /><br />HP made a foray into the services segment with last year&rsquo;s $13.2bn purchase of EDS, which was also founded by Ross Perot in 1962.<br />