HP Bids $1.6 Billion for 3PAR, Tops Dell's Price

Offer one third higher than Dell proposed for storage vendor less than two weeks ago.

August 24, 2010

D.H. Kass

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Hewlett-Packard Co. offered $24 per share in cash, or an enterprise value of $1.6 billion, to acquire the outstanding shares of 3PAR Inc., topping by one third Dell Inc.’s $18 per share or $1.15 billion, two-week old proposal to acquire the Fremont, CA-based storage vendor.

HP said that adding 3PAR’s enterprise-class storage virtualization technology will augment its converged infrastructure architecture strategy, which melds storage, server and networking solutions.

“We think we have a superior offer here and we look forward to the response,” said Dave Donatelli, HP executive vice president, general manager, Enterprise Servers, Storage & Networking, Enterprise Business, in a Webcast with analysts.

HP's advance may not be the last foray in the battle, which some observers see as a curious tussle over a relatively small $200 million company. Still, 3PAR's shares jumped above $26 today, more than $2 higher than HP's bid price, perhaps signaling an expectation by investors that Dell will return HP's fire.

Less than two weeks ago, Dell bid $18 per share, or $1.15 billion, for 3PAR’s outstanding shares. At the time, Dell said it wanted 3PAR to fill out its storage portfolio, enabling it to offer products at every tier, ranging from direct attach to virtualized, clustered SANs.

Shane Robison, HP executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer, writing in a letter to David Scott, 3PAR president and chief executive officer, made public today, said that HP believes that a “business combination with HP will deliver significant benefits to your stockholders, customers, employees and partners.”

He said that HP’s bid constituted a “Superior Proposal” compared to Dell’s, unbound by any financing contingency or internal HP approvals.

“HP is uniquely positioned to capitalize on 3PAR’s next-generation storage technology by utilizing our global reach and superior routes to market to deliver 3PAR’s products to customers around the world,” Robison wrote.

3PAR recently reported sales of $54.3 million for its fiscal third quarter ended June 30, 2010, a 22 percent increase over the same period last year when it recorded revenue of $44.5 million.

The company lost $1.8 million for the period, matching its loss for the same quarter a year earlier.

Dell did not respond publicly.

TAGS: virtualization,Dell,HP,3PAR,Storage

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