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3Par Accepts Dell’s Sweetened $1.6 Bln Offer

Computer maker Dell has struck back at HP, offering $1.6 billion to acquire virtualization and cloud storage vendor 3Par—and 3Par looks to have accepted the offer. Dell’s sweetened offer came in the wake of Hewlett-Packard swooping in and offering $1.5 billion for 3Par when Dell thought it had the deal all sewn up for $1.13 billion: the increased competition for the company is now going to cost Dell move than $470 million extra.

Dell is offering $24.30 per share for 3Par, which works out to about $1.6 billion. The cash tender offer runs through September 20, 2010; assuming the buyout goes through—subject to government approvals and other conditions—3Par would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dell.

The contentious bidding for 3Par highlights how aggressively companies like Dell and HP are looking to cloud computing not only as a growth market for their own server and data center products, but also as a revenue-generating business of its own. Many organizations and enterprises leveraging cloud computing services aren’t purchasing their own server hardware or data centers; instead, they’re paying companies like 3Par to handle physical infrastructure and maintain software installations that they tap into via the Internet. Both Dell and HP offer cloud computing services on a subscription basis.

Some industry watchers anticipate HP may come back with another counter-offer of its own, and while HP is almost twice the size of Dell in terms of revenue, both companies have comparable amounts of cash on hand, and can continue escalating a bidding war for some time.