Business-services companies Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., NTT Data Corp. and Atos SE are competing to acquire Perot Systems, an information-technology management business of Dell Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. Dell is hoping Perot Systems will fetch more than $5 billion, helping it trim its debt load after its agreement to acquire data-storage firm EMC Corp. for $66 billion, including debt, the people said this week. The merger with EMC is scheduled to close by October 2016, subject to approval by EMC shareholders.

However, the auction of Perot Systems has taken longer than expected because the offers Dell has received thus far have failed to meet its valuation expectations, the people said. Dell is now reconsidering which contracts it will pass on to Perot Systems to boost the sale process, one of the people added. The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential.

Dell, Cognizant, Japan-based NTT and France-based Atos did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Perot Systems is major provider of IT consulting to hospitals and government departments. Founded in 1988 by former U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot, it was acquired by Dell in 2009 for $3.9 billion.

While that deal helped Dell diversify beyond its core personal-computer business, the company is now focused on making inroads in cloud computing, business software and data management -- a key driver of its deal to acquire EMC.

Dell has also been speaking to private-equity firms about selling Quest Software, which helps with IT management, as well as SonicWall, an email encryption and data-security provider. Together, these assets could be worth around $4 billion.

Last week, Dell registered SecureWorks Corp, its cybersecurity unit, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.Dell has said its goal will be to reduce its debt load in the first 18 to 24 months of its merger with EMC to achieve an investment-grade rating. Dell will have $49.5 billion in debt under current plans to finance the deal. Since Dell was taken private in 2013, it has reduced its debt by $4.5 billion.