Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), the third-largest maker of PCs,, will pay about $1.2 billion for network security company SonicWall Inc. to bolster its enterprise security offerings, The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday.

Analysts predicted the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, will be worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, the Journal said.

Dell's purchase of SonicWall appears to be primarily for its intellectual property. The network security company will bring over 130 registered and pending patents to Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas.

Buying SonicWall, based in San Jose, Calif., also will bring more than 300,000 customers to Dell, which plans to combine SonicWall's channel program, with its 15,000 resellers, with its own PartnerDirect program. 

SonicWall specializes in Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewalls that incorporate multiple security functions into a single device. SonicWall's technologies will complement Dell's SecureWorks security services and KACE vulnerability and patch management systems.

This transaction aligns well with Dell's mid-market design focus and allows us to accelerate growth of our flagship SuperMassive Next-Generation Firewall solutions with large enterprise customers, said SonicWall CEO Matt Medeiros.

SonicWall went private in 2010 for $717 million when it was bought by an investor group led by Thoma Bravo. SonicWall is the second company Dell has purchased in two months since its promotion of Swainson to president of its software group, PC Magazine reported. Dell bought AppAssure last month.

Dell shares rose 14 cents to to $17.10.