Dell ups offer for 3PAR to $1.6B, tops HP

However, HP still has a chance to put in a counter offer

The bidding war between Dell and Hewlett-Packard for virtualized storage vendor 3PAR continued on Thursday, with Dell increasing its bid to $24.30 per share, or about $1.6 billion.

[ HP or Dell -- which is the better suitor for 3Par? ]

The offer has been accepted by 3PAR, according to Dell. It tops a $24 per share offer made by HP earlier this week.

Dell had originally inked a deal to buy 3PAR for $18 per share, or roughly $1.15 billion, but the agreement had a provision for matching competitive offers, according to a statement.

Dell expects the deal to close before the end of this year.

However, Dell's amended offer does not necessarily end the bidding war, and HP has a window to come back with a higher bid.

According to an SEC filing on Thursday, 3PAR considered the bid as a "superior proposal" to HP's offer. 3PAR has said that the tender offer will expire on Sept. 20 at midnight Eastern Time, after which 3PAR would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dell.

3PAR is known for its thin provisioning capabilities, which supply storage resources on demand. The approach is said to be more efficient than traditional "fat provisioning," a process that dedicates an excess amount of storage to an application in anticipation of future needs.

Spokesmen from both HP and 3PAR declined to comment.

It's hard to predict a response when two companies get into competitive bidding situation, especially in an environment where a lot of IT companies are consolidating, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

"The Dell bid is a sober testing of how interested HP is in 3PAR," King said. "It'll be interesting to see how this shakes up."

He couldn't predict whether HP would respond, but the company's original bid indicated they're interested in 3PAR, he said.

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