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HP Makes $1.5B Bid for 3Par, Topping Dell's Offer

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 10:32am
Andrew Vanacore, AP Business Writer


NEW YORK (AP) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. is bidding $1.5 billion for data storage provider 3Par Inc., offering 33 percent more than what rival Dell Inc. agreed to pay for the company just a week earlier.

The tussle for control of 3Par comes as both HP and Dell have been looking to expand beyond personal computers in search of bigger profits. The company they both want to buy provides products for organizing data on corporate servers. Those tools could help either company go deeper into "cloud computing," the growing practice of offering software on a subscription basis over the Internet.

The offer announced Monday raised questions about the direction HP is taking since CEO Mark Hurd was forced to resign earlier this month. Hurd was pushed out for filing inaccurate expense reports for his dinners and other outings with a former HP marketing contractor.

Faced with questions about why HP only made an offer for 3Par after Dell jumped in last week with a bid for $1.13 billion, company executives declined to say exactly how long they have been considering the deal, or whether Hurd had been in favor of it.

HP Executive Vice President Dave Donatelli indicated that HP had made a previous offer, but would go only as far as saying, "We've been working on this deal for some time."

HP's bid of $24 per share represents a 33 percent increase over Dell's offer last Monday of $18 per share, which itself had been 87 percent premium over the company's most recent closing price at the time. In morning trading Monday, shares of 3Par jumped $7.31, or 41 percent, to $25.35. The fact that it's above HP's offer price suggests that investors expect Dell to make a higher counteroffer. Message left with Dell seeking comment Monday were not immediately returned.

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