Dell matches HP's $27 offer, is accepted by 3PAR

After initially bidding $1.15B and raising its offer to $1.6B in response to an HP bid, Dell is now offering $1.8B for 3PAR

3PAR has accepted an increased acquisition offer from Dell of US$27 per share, matching Hewlett-Packard's earlier raised bid. 3PAR's board has updated its earlier merger agreement with Dell accordingly, the companies said Friday.

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

Dell and HP are vying for the hand of the virtualized storage vendor with a view to extending their own data-center product lineups. Dell has recently acquired storage optimization provider Ocarina Networks and server provisioning vendor Scalent.

The competition for 3PAR has been intense. On Aug. 16, Dell offered to buy 3PAR for around $1.15 billion. 3PAR accepted, but HP topped the offer a week later with a bid of $1.6 billion, or $24 per share, revealing in the process that it had also been in earlier merger discussions with 3PAR before Dell made its move.

Dell took three days to react, topping HP's offer by just $0.30 per share.

3PAR accepted Dell's improved bid, but on Thursday HP raised again, this time to $27 per share.

Overnight, Dell matched that bid, and 3PAR announced Friday morning that its board recommends shareholders accept the revised offer.

The latest increase in price does not affect the timing of the offer, 3PAR said. Unless extended, the offer will expire at midnight on Sept. 20. The termination fee too remains unchanged: if 3PAR accepts a superior offer from another company, it must pay Dell at $72 million.

(More to follow.)

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