3Par gives Dell three days to top HP's offer

The storage vendor announces it will begin negotiations with HP over its unsolicited bid if Dell can't produce a more attractive offer in three business days.

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Dell has until Thursday to top Hewlett-Packard's $1.6 billion offer for 3Par, the sought-after storage vendor announced Tuesday.

Fremont, Calif.-based 3Par said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that HP's unsolicited proposal was "reasonably likely to lead to a 'superior proposal'," and that it had informed Dell that it had three days to submit a more attractive offer. If Dell doesn't produce a superior offer after three days, 3Par intends to begin merger negotiations with HP, 3Par said in its filing.

"3PAR intends to engage in discussions with HP promptly regarding its unsolicited acquisition proposal, and share nonpublic information with HP regarding 3PAR, in order to more fully evaluate HP's proposal with a view to establishing whether it is a 'superior proposal'," the company said in the filing.

The filing comes a day after HP announced an offer to acquire 3Par for $24 a share in cash, or $1.6 billion total. That offer one-upped Dell's offer from a week ago to buy the storage specialist for $18 per share, or $1.15 billion. HP's offer is roughly 33 percent greater than Dell's.

Earlier Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Dell was preparing a sweetened offer for 3Par, but it was unknown how much Dell planned to boost its price.

Dell representatives declined to comment.

The Fremont, Calif.-based company sells virtualized storage arrays that allow companies to buy storage only as they need it. HP is looking at 3Par's virtualized products to complement its own Converged Infrastructure data center as more businesses take to the cloud to integrate their server, networking, and storage needs.

Shares of 3Par rose 95 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $27.04, closing more than $3 a share above the $24 a share HP offered Monday.