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Dell, HP still going toe-to-toe for 3PAR

Now it looks like the battle for 3PAR will turn into an old-fashioned 15-round bout between Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Neither 3PAR suitor backed down today, as they each made their fourth bid for 3PAR. At the end of the latest bidding round, HP’s had the highest offer of $33 per share or $2.35 billion. Still, Dell kept its right to match any bid for 3PAR.

3PAR today said that after it told Dell of its plans to terminate its merger agreement to accept HP’s previous offer of $30 or $2 billion, Dell raised its offer from $27 to $32 per share with a termination fee of $92 million. HP then raised its bid to $33 per share.

Dell’s offer was good enough to at least prevent 3PAR from terminating the Aug. 16 agreement between the two, and 3PAR’s board must continue to recommend its shareholders accept Dell’s latest offer. However, 3PAR immediately deemed HP’s $2.4 billion off a “superior proposal,” and gave Dell another three business days to respond.

There was a twist to Dell’s latest offer. It proposed a multi-year reseller deal with 3PAR that any acquirer must honor. 3PAR said the offer also included price fixing and other terms that its board determined unacceptable. 3PAR did not give details on the “other terms.”

3PAR’s stock price has more than tripled from $9.65 since Dell’s first offer on less than three weeks ago.

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