HP outlasts Dell in bidding war for 3PAR

NEW YORK: US computer giant Hewlett-Packard emerged the winner on Thursday in a bidding war with Dell for 3PAR after raising its offer for the data storage company to 33 dollars per share or 2.35 billion dollars.

HP and 3PAR make a “winning combination,” HP executive vice president Dave Donatelli said in a joint statement confirming the deal was done and had been approved by boards of directors at both firms.

HP expected 3PAR technology to “bolster our ability to provide customers with the industry’s highest levels of performance, efficiency and reliability,” said Donatelli, manager of Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking at HP.

“We intend to invest in 3PAR’s technology,” he added.

Dave Johnson, Dell’s senior vice president for corporate strategy, announced the Round Rock, Texas-based company’s decision to pull out of the bidding which began on August 16 with an 18-dollar per share offer for 3PAR by Dell.

“We took a measured approach throughout the process and have decided to end these discussions,” Johnson said in a statement.

Dell dropped its attempt to acquire the Fremont, California-based 3PAR after HP topped its final offer of 32 dollars per share.

The 3PAR board of directors had recommended accepting an earlier offer from Dell but decided to terminate their merger agreement and accept the “superior” offer from the Palo Alto, California-based HP.

Dell said it is entitled to receive a 72-million-dollar break-up fee from 3PAR as a result of the company’s decision to go with the HP bid.

HP, the world’s largest computer manufacturer, and Dell, the third-largest, are both seeking to expand their offerings to include services and storage.

With the rise of Internet-based “cloud computing,” in which data is stored remotely, 3PAR was an attractive target and the bidding war for the company saw its stock triple in two weeks.

“3PAR has built a reputation for delivering enterprises and cloud computing service providers the ability to do more with less,” said 3PAR chief executive David Scott.

“As part of HP, 3PAR’s agile, efficient storage solutions will truly thrive, particularly given HP’s ability to accelerate investment in our products and reach new customers around the world.”

The acquisition of 3PAR gives HP an advantage over the market for advanced high-end data storage solutions, where 3PAR is the dominant player.

3PAR’s technology enables large companies and government agencies to shift to “cloud” storage platforms, significantly cutting storage costs.

Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle said it was ultimately more important for HP to acquire 3PAR than it was for Dell and he expected Dell to now deepen its partnership with software giant Microsoft.

In a reference to the abrupt resignation last month of HP chief executive Mark Hurd, Enderle also said he found it “surprising that HP could do this without a CEO.”

HP chief financial officer Cathie Lesjak has been serving as interim chief executive since Hurd resigned on August 6 in the wake of a sexual harassment charge that uncovered subterfuge with company expenses.

Shares in 3PAR gained 2.49 percent on Wall Street on Thursday to close at 32.88 dollars while HP gained 1.20 percent to finish at 39.68 dollars and Dell gained 1.98 dollars to close at 12.36 dollars.