Volley And Serve: Dell Matches HP's $1.8 Bid For 3Par

Dell has matched Hewlett-Packard's offer 3Par - again. The Round Rock, Tex.-based vendor said Friday it would pay $27 per share for 3Par, or approximately $1.8 billion. The new deal was reached under a provision in their existing agreement that allows Dell to match competing bids.

Dell had increased its offer to $24.30 per share by yesterday morning, but HP increased its offer to $27 per share by the end of the day Thursday.

3Par, based in Fremont, Calif., develops enterprise-class storage arrays featuring clustering, tiered storage, and thin provisioning, which allows applications to be configured with more storage capacity than is physically available. Thin provisioning lets users limit the amount of storage capacity they need to purchase, allowing them to spend less on hardware, as well as power and cooling.

The bidding war started between the two companies on Aug. 13 when Dell agreed to purchase 3Par technology, for $18 per share.

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"Dell 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 said in a statement. "Consistent with its previous rationale for the acquisition, Dell also believes that its global brand and broad global reach will dramatically accelerate 3PAR's revenue growth."

Dell's offer of $24.30 yesterday had been unanimously accepted by the 3Par board of directors, which asked shareholders to approve the deal. The tender offer is due to expire Sept. 20.

HP executives could not be reached for comment. Yesterday, HP declined to comment during the day before announcing their updated offer in the afternoon.

As was the case Thursday, 3Par said it maintains the $72 million termination fee, which would be payable to Dell in the event that it receives and accepts another unsolicited acquisition proposal that its board determines to be superior to Dell's increased offer.

Once again, the ball is back in HP's hands.