HP Again Tops Dell Bid for 3PAR Buy-out

The latest bids cap an intensifying two-week battle between the two computer titans for the big data firm that focuses on cloud computing in which data is stored remotely.

Hewlett-Packard struck fast on August 27 in its battle with Dell to purchase data storage firm 3PAR, raising its offer to two billion dollars two hours after Dell's latest bid.

HP announced it increased its offer to $30 per share in cash, or a total value of two billion dollars, representing an 11% premium above Dell's earlier $27 per share offer.

HP, the world's largest computer maker, said it does not require financing to carry out the deal, which has been approved by its board of directors. "Once approved by 3PAR's board, HP expects the transaction to close by the end of the calendar year," it said. Once the deal is concluded, 3PAR would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dell.

It remained to see if Dell would top HP's bid in what increasingly appears to be a war of prestige between the two giants as they struggle to gain an edge with advanced and more complex computer systems as the personal desktop and laptop market nears its peak, analysts said.

The latest bids cap an intensifying two-week battle between the two computer titans for the big data firm that focuses on so-called "cloud computing" in which data is stored remotely.

Dell's bid on August 20 bid matched HP's offer from the previous day, which also came hours after Dell had improved its initial offer to $24.30 per share for a total $1.6 billion. Dell said in a separate statement that the new bid was accepted and that it "continues to believe that the acquisition of 3PAR, with its industry-leading storage technology, is important to its customers and will enhance Dell's position in utility-storage solutions."
Dell first announced on August 16 it had reached an agreement to acquire 3PAR at $18 per share. HP made a counter bid of $24 per share in cash. Dell matched that offer, and HP raised its bid to $27 before Dell equaled the offer.

Both Dell and HP are hoping the acquisition would offer near-exclusive control over the market of advanced high-end data storage solutions, where 3PAR is the most dominant player.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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