International Business Machines Corp IBM.N is splitting itself into two public companies, capping a years-long effort by the world’s first big computing firm to diversify away from its legacy businesses to focus on high-margin cloud computing.
IBM will list its IT infrastructure services unit, which provides technical support for 4,600 clients in 115 countries and has a backlog of $60 billion, as a separate company with a new name by the end of 2021.
The new company will have 90,000 employees and its leadership structure will be decided in a few months, Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh told Reuters.
IBM, which currently has more than 352,000 workers, said it expects to record nearly $5 billion in expenses related to the separation and operational changes.
Investors cheered the surprise move by Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna, the key architect behind IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of cloud company Red Hat last year, sending the company’s shares up 7%.
“We divested networking back in the ‘90s, we divested PCs back in the 2000s, we divested semiconductors about five years ago because all of them didn’t necessarily play into the integrated value proposition,” Krishna said on a call with analysts.