HP had previously offered $24 a share, an offer that Dell topped with a bid of $24.30. The latest move by HP appears to show a willingness to pay a large premium for 3Par to keep it out of Dell's hands. Observers had previously speculated that HP was merely bidding to prevent Dell from entering the high-end storage business at too low a price.
The bidding started with a Dell offer of $18 a share or $1.15 billion, which HP raised to $1.6 billion with its $24 a share bid. Dell then added 30 cents a share to the HP offer, and now HP has pushed the bidding to $27 a share or $1.8 billion. Trading in 3Par shares closed at $9.65 a share on the day before the bidding started.
HP's latest bid is an 11% premium over Dell's most recent bid and has been approved by HP's board of directors, said Dave Donatelli, executive VP and general manager of HP Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking.
"Not only is our offer superior to Dell's proposal, HP remains uniquely positioned to execute on this combination, given the number of synergies between the two companies," Donatelli said in the announcement of the offer.
The addition of 3Par's virtualized approach to storage and thin provisioning technologies will help HP's converged infrastructure strategy, he added. HP is countering Cisco Systems' Unified Computing System and its main storage partner, EMC, with more advanced BladeSystem Matrix and storage systems of its own.
Dell is a newcomer to high-end storage, having previously paid $1.4 billion for EqualLogic storage systems for small and mid-sized business.
"Our revised proposal offers superior value to 3Par's shareholders, while maintaining our disciplined approach to only pursuing acquisitions that we believe will strengthen our portfolio and create long -term value for our shareholders," said Donatelli.