Dell has a couple of days to make the next move in the rapidly escalating bidding war for the small scale-out storage maker.
Dell - which wants to get better at serving high-end storage customers was busy considering its options Aug. 30 in its prolonged bidding war with Hewlett-Packard over utility storage maker 3PAR. HP on Aug. 27 increased its offer to just under $2 billion
, and 3PAR's board later that evening accepted it. Thus, Dell, which apparently has more to lose in this bidding war than
HP, is left to make the next move. It has an agreement that allows it
to automatically match any competing offer for 3PAR, so the deal's not
done yet. But it looks like a resolution is at hand.
3PAR executives are pushing Dell to make a decision, and are doing
so in highly public fashion. In a statement released Aug. 27, the
company said that its board of directors felt that the HP bid
represented a "superior proposal" to the last one made by Dell.
In addition, 3PAR officials said that the board also notified Dell
that it intends to immediately terminate the merger proposal with Dell
after the three business days laid out in the merger plan. Essentially
the company is giving Dell those three days to come up with a suitable
counter offer, or 3PAR will opt out of the agreement with Dell
and move forward with merger plans with HP.
So now Dell has those three business days to respond to
the $2 billion question. When and how it answers the challenge is up to
founder and CEO Michael Dell and his board of directors.
"We will make a decision in the best interest of our customers and
shareholders and make that known when it becomes appropriate," Dell
Corporate Communications Director David Frink told Reuters.
HP isn't talking at this time, preferring to let its current standing bid to speak for itself.
"We have an existing agreement with 3PAR that gives us the right to
match any competitive offer. We are assessing it at this time," Frink
$2 billion is a lot of money, even for a company such as Dell,
which has $7.7 billion in the bank. Both companies realize the value of
3PAR's intellectual property, its strong management team, its
consistent execution, its loyal list of customers and its only-modest profitability. They also realize that 3PAR hasn't been able to take its message
or its products to the next level, because they don't have the sales force and
international rep that HP and Dell both have earned over years of work.
In that regard, either of the two companies could provide exactly what
3PAR cannot do on its own.
With all due respect to all three of the aforementioned corporate
entities, 3PAR isn't the only vendor that offers second-generation-type
storage. Isilon, Compellent, Xiotech, Pivot3 and Infortrend are five of
at least a dozen established companies that offer high-end utility-type
storage for enterprises large and small.
"That may be true, but there are very few other companies available for purchase," Dell storage and cloud guru Praveen Asthana told eWEEK
For further information and analysis, see these eWEEK articles:
Why is 3PAR such a hot property?
Dell explains why 3PAR is strategic to its needs
HP's motives in the bidding war