The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Aug. 27

(5 Dumbest updated with latest bidding on 3Par.) 5. HP, Still Seeking a General, Heats Up Bidding War

If HP (HPQ) (Stock Quote: HPQ) is trying to show that it's not on auto pilot under an interim CEO, then the decision to battle Dell (DELL) (Stock Quote: DELL) for 3PAR (PAR) (Stock Quote: PAR) is sure as hell an expensive way to do it.

HP plowed headlong into what became an all-out bidding war with Dell by Thursday. Apparently both parties are desperate to get their hands on an unprofitable business that has yet to prove its potential. The whole affair has that care-free 1999 feel to it -- and we all know what happened in 2000.

Dell originally offered $18 a share, or $1.15 billion, for 3Par earlier this summer. HP entered the fray with a bid of $24. By the end of the day on Thursday, HP had raised its offer to $27 a share, besting the $24.30 bid Dell issued earlier that day. This morning, Dell claimed victory by announcing 3Par had accepted its $27 cash bid, valuing the deal at $1.8 billion. HP has already come back with an offer of $30.

The bidding war has pushed 3Par's stock up 73% so far this week, as the value of the deal approaches a premium of nearly $1 billion over 3Par's original value when Dell first offered $1.1 billion two months ago. Let's repeat that: a $1 billion premium for a company that isn't profitable.

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