HP challenges Dell bid for data center products maker

On Aug. 16, Dell announced an agreement to acquire 3PAR Inc. in a $1.15 billion deal. A week later, HP says it has submitted a proposal to buy 3PAR for $1.6 billion.

It’s a clash of the titans.

Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. are vying for ownership of 3Par Inc., a maker of data center software and equipment.

On Aug. 16, Dell announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire 3PAR, in a transaction valued at approximately $1.15 billion, or $18 a share.

Terms of the acquisition were approved by both boards of directors, the Dell announcement said.

“In the ‘Virtual Era,’ Dell is driving an open and integrated approach to data management,” Dell officials said in a statement. “3PAR’s product portfolio complements Dell’s goal to make IT simpler and more affordable.”

Dell said it planned to make 3PAR, of Fremont, Calif., an integral part of its storage portfolio, which includes PowerVault, EqualLogic and Dell/EMC, and would invest in additional engineering and sales capabilities.

But today, HP announced that it had submitted a proposal to acquire all outstanding shares of 3PAR for $24 a share in cash, or an enterprise value of $1.6 billion.

“The proposed transaction represents a 33.3 percent premium above the price proposed by Dell Inc.,” the announcement states. "HP’s proposal is not subject to any financing contingency and has been approved by HP’s board of directors. Once approved by 3PAR’s board, HP expects the transaction to close by the end of the calendar year."

“HP’s proposal offers superior value to 3PAR’s shareholders,” said Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of HP’s Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking unit, in the announcement.

“Our global reach, strong routes to market and commitment to innovation uniquely position HP as the ideal fit for 3PAR,” he said. “We’ve seen great momentum with our Converged Infrastructure strategy, and 3PAR accelerates that strategy, particularly in cloud and scale-out markets.”

HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., ranks No. 12 on Washington Technology’s 2010 Top 100 list of the largest federal contractors. Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, ranks No. 11 on that list.