Bidding for data storage company 3Par heats up as HP tops latest Dell bid

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bidding for 3Par heats up; HP tops latest Dell bid

NEW YORK — The bidding is heating up between computer makers Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. for the data storage company 3Par Inc. Even before Dell could make its latest offer public, HP has come back with a higher bid.

After Dell raised its offer to $32 per share from $27, HP raised its own bid to $33 from $30. That brings the total price that HP is willing to pay to $2.07 billion.

In a statement Thursday, 3Par said HP’s offer is superior. It is giving Dell another three business days to come back with a higher bid.

Dell did not immediately return calls seeking comment on its plans.

The company made its first offer for 3Par on Aug. 16. Both PC makers are looking at 3Par as a way to build up their “cloud computing” businesses, delivering software, data storage and other services to customers via the Internet. 3Par could also help them cut data storage expenses.

For either company, the acquisition would come as part of a strategy to grow more profitable lines of business outside the personal computer market.

The stakes are also growing for 3Par. In its latest agreement with Dell, 3Par agreed to pay a termination fee of $92 million if their deal doesn’t happen. That’s up from $72 million most recently and an original figure of $53.5 million.

Investors are signaling again that they don’t expect an end to the bidding, with 3Par shares climbing above HP’s latest offer. The stock jumped $1.57, or 4.9 percent, to $33.65 in morning trading Thursday.

Dell shares fell 16 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $11.96, while HP rose 10 cents to $39.31.

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