HP Lifts 3Par Bid Another 10% to $1.9B

Hewlett-Packard is flexing its ample cash muscle to wrestle data storage specialist 3Par away from Dell.
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NEW YORK, (

TheStreet

) --We have $30, do we hear $30.30?

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

has outbid

Dell's

(DELL) - Get Report

most recent bid for

3Par

(PAR) - Get Report

by another 10% in its winner take all battle for the storage tech shop.

HP said Friday it will pay $30 a share for 3Par, a total takeover price of $1.88 billion. The move comes just hours after Dell matched HP's $27 a share bid earlier Friday. HP made a similar move Thursday, outbidding Dell by 11% with a $27 offer.

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.

So what's with the fascination over 3Par?

The attraction seems to center on 3Par as a leader in next generation data storage systems. The Fremont, Calif., tech shop has been a leader in so-called utility storage, a data filing system that is designed to expand dramatically on demand, provide instant backup and recovery service, and if you believe the customer testimonials, allow you to manage the system in a simplified manner.

All this nonsense about the cloud computing is somewhat misleading. Just like

EMC

(EMC)

and other network storage gearmakers, 3Par makes big hardware racks that stand alongside all the other stacks of IT gear in office equipment rooms.

And like its competitors, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard,

Hitachi

(HIT)

,

NetApp

(NTAP) - Get Report

, etc., 3Par gear features racks of drawers holding an array of hard drives.

But a big difference between 3Par and its rivals might be its operating system that gives IT managers centralized control for a storage network that may be spread over several locations.

It is this flexible approach, or thin provisioning that seems to be 3Par's advantage. An IT manager can assign storage space from a pool of networked resources that are not necessarily at the same physical location. Think of it as a "private cloud," says

TheStreet

colleague James Rogers.

The customer list for 3Par includes outfits like

News Corp.'s

(NWS) - Get Report

MySpace,

Priceline

(PCLN)

,

Hilton

and

Infinity Pharmaceuticals

(INFI) - Get Report

.

Shares of 3Par are up 21% Friday to $31.50. That is above the latest HP bid level and suggests that investors are expecting the auction to continue.

--

Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

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