Hewlett-Packard submitted a $2 billion offer for 3PAR on Friday morning, topping Dell's latest $1.8 billion bid for the storage technology provider. Formed in 1999 by a group of server-cluster engineers from Sun Microsystems, 3PAR offers technologies that enable enterprises to service a wide range of applications concurrently from multiple on-premise servers, virtual cloud servers, or hybrid systems that combine on-premise and off-premise elements.
And the 3PAR bidding war may not be over since HP and Dell are both sitting on huge money reserves. HP reported last week that it had $14.8 billion in gross cash on hand at the end of its latest business quarter, while Dell said it had $13.1 billion in cash and investments.
Dell began the quest to acquire 3PAR with an Aug. 16 agreement for $1.15 billion. But HP stepped in on Aug. 23 with a $1.6 billion bid, which Dell then matched. Dell said the Aug. 16 agreement allows it to match any competing bids and requires 3PAR to pay it $72 million if a competing bid is accepted.
"Both companies would benefit from 3PAR" because the winning bidder will be able to tap "the 3PAR customer base, which is a mecca for selling servers," said IDC Vice President Benjamin Woo. "HP is due for a full refresh for its mid- to high-end storage portfolio," and "Dell wants to own a product for the top price bands in the $100,000-plus" range "rather than OEMing a product," he said.
Offering Superior Value
Just hours before HP's latest bid, Dell announced Friday that 3PAR's board had unanimously recommended that its shareholders approve the $1.8 billion offer Dell tendered Thursday afternoon, matching HP's offer. But HP had already made it clear that the world's leading PC maker sees considerable merit in offering "superior value to 3PAR's shareholders."
HP is committed to "maintaining a disciplined approach to only pursuing acquisitions that we believe will strengthen our portfolio and create long-term value for our shareholders," said Executive Vice President Dave Donatelli on Thursday. "HP remains uniquely positioned to execute on this combination, given the number of synergies between the two companies."
HP's heightened focus on cloud-related acquisitions was further reinforced Thursday by the company's decision to purchase privately held Stratavia under undisclosed financial terms. Among other things, the Denver-based company offers database and application automation technologies that can simplify and automate the deployment of databases, middleware and packaged applications in cloud-computing environments. (continued...)