EMC, VMware higher following bullish Barron's write-up

|By:, SA News Editor

EMC (EMC +1.3%) investors can make out well whether or not the company gives into Elliott Management's call to fully spin off VMware (VMW +1.7%), says Barron's in a weekend column.

If a VMware spinoff occurred, the rest of EMC would likely be assigned a higher valuation than its current $17B. But even if it doesn't, the company's $9B net cash balance and strong free cash flow leaves it well-positioned to raise cheap debt to finance buybacks; EMC recently hiked its 2014 buyback target by $1B to $3B.

Credit Suisse thinks EMC could be worth $38/share if a spinoff happened. Barron's estimates $5B in buybacks, together with respective valuations of 21x and 10x forward EPS for VMware and core EMC, would yield a $33/share valuation.

The paper also defends EMC's storage ops, arguing demand for on-premise systems can remain healthy in the face of rapid cloud storage adoption. EMC's high-end storage sales (VMAX) have been weak, but its emerging storage business (covers flash, object, and scale-out NAS storage) has been faring better.